Found project: Mosque of Ibn Tulun


    Project : Mosque of Ibn Tulun

    Architect : Tulun, Ahmad ibn

    Completion: 879

    Locality : Cairo

    Country : Egypt

    Building style :

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    “It is impossible to tell the history of a city that no longer exists, but in the case of al-Qata’i we are left with one of the most remarkable sites of Islamic culture and architecture in Cairo. This is so because of the Ibn Tulun mosque, the jewel of al-Qata’i, speaks not only for the city but also for the cultural and political geography of the entire region. For the mosque of Ibn Tulun connects Egypt to Baghdad, Ibn Tulun to the Abbasid caliph, and the architecture of Egypt to major monuments of Abbasid rule, such as the mosque of Samarra. Like the city of Samarra, al-Qata’i did not survive, but the mosque of Ibn Tulun tells us much about the Islamic Empire of the ninth century and the short-lived rule of the Tulunids.
    Ibn Tulun built his famous mosque between 876 and 879 on the slopes of Jabal Yashkur. The mosque was made of red brick faced with stucco, except for its minaret, which was of limestone. Such materials were new to Cairo, and historians have considered them to be evidence of stylistic influences from Samarra, where building in brick and stucco predates Islam. Although some historians have suggested that the architect of the mosque was from Samarra or Byzantium, it is also possible that he may have been an Egyptian Copt…The mosque contained a central courtyard and six prayer halls (although some of them date from various later periods). A main mihrab located at the center of the qibla wall included a Kufic inscription of the Muslim profession of faith, ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’. On the right side of the mihrab was a door that led to Ibn Tulun’s palace, through which he accessed the pulpit.”
    There exists a controversy concerning the mosque’s minaret: “…several historical texts describe Ibn Tulun arriving at the shape of the minaret by sheer accident. They recount that he had played with a piece of paper by wrapping it around his finger, and when he released the paper, it made a spiral shape, a model that he then ordered his architect to replicate…Many historians now attribute the contradiction in the minaret’s form to the fact that it has undergone alterations. Some suggest that the additions made by the Mamluk sultan Lajin are what gave the minaret its final form…
    Unlike Amr’s mosque, the mosque of Ibn Tulun seems to have retained the integrity and coherence of its original design for more than a millennium. Although the palace and the surrounding structures were mostly destroyed when Abbasid rule came to an end, the mosque has survived to become one of the most important monuments of Islamic architecture.”

    AlSayyad, Nezar, Cairo: Histories of a city, Harvard University Press, 2011, pp.47-50.

    Ed. Adzhoa Makkonen



    Images 1-20 of 33

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski