Ibn Tulun Mosque is not an ordinary Mosque, it’s one of the oldest and largest Mosques in the world as it contains an unbelievable amount of history, beauty, and elegance. Ibn Tulun Mosque is known for being the best-preserved mosque in Egypt, Cairo’s oldest intact functioning Islamic monument and one of the most important historical and architectural achievements in Muslim civilization. It was built by the Emir Ahmed Ibn Tulun who ruled Egypt from 868 to 883A.D under the rule of the Abbasid Caliph. After taking control of Egypt, he founded a new city called Al-Qata’I on a rocky outcrop said to be the landing site of Noah’s Ark. In May 879 C.E, The construction of a palace complex, a hippodrome, large mosque named after him was completed.
Components of Ibn Tulun Mosque
Ibn Tulun Mosque is built on a 26,318 sqm, which makes it the third-largest mosque in the world. Ibn Tulun drew inspiration from the ancient Mosque of Samarra (Iraq) in his homeland. The mosque has a square shape 162 meters long, a total number of 42 doors and consists of three main sections, the praying hall which hold the breathtaking the mihrab and minibar, the beautifully decorated courtyard and the open extensions (wall battlements) that surround the mosque and works as a barrier between the streets and the religious space inside. The mosque and the arches of the courtyard are decorated with some impressive designs in carved stucco and wood.
The internal decoration of the mosque was out of this world as some of the decoration patterns can be traced back to the Hellenic and Sassanian era, on the windows and the arcades a combination of floral and geometrical patterns can be found. Ibn Tulun Mosque also had magical calligraphy works on the high section of the walls, the internal frames of the windows and the mihrab. The minaret is modeled after the minarets of the famous city of Samarra, with a beautiful spiral staircase around the outside which makes it the only one of its kind in Egypt. The mosque was restored a couple of times through history, notably between 1296 and 1299 A.D and most recently in 1890 when the entire Mosque was completely restored.
The Architecture Influence of Ibn Tulun Mosque
Ibn Tulun Mosque is a rare example where Europeans openly admitted its influence on the development of architecture beyond Islamic boundaries as it was the first recorded instance of the systematic adoption of piers to carry the arcades and the roof as an alternative to columns. The mosque was also the first building where the pointed arch was used constructively and systematically. Elements as the pointed arch, the wall battlements and the piers became essential ingredients of Gothic architecture.
Tours to Ibn Tulun Mosque
The mosque of Ibn Tulun considered being one of the most famous Cairo tourist attractions, that can’t be missed during your Egypt vacation. If you want to take an exploring tour include visiting Ibn Tulun mosque, then you have to check our Egypt private tours where you will find the best tailor-made tour to all the Egyptian attractions in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan.