Islamic Cairo is the historical heart of the city. Its architecture dates back to Downtown, located in the middle of the modern part of the city, and extends north, south, and west towards the Pyramids of Giza.
When the Fatimids captured Egypt in 969 BC, they built a new capital north of the old capital, and this city became the center of the Caliphate government.
When exploring the historic wonders of Islamic Cairo, travelers often seek comfortable accommodations to complement their immersive experience. Fortunately, the vibrant city offers various lodging options, including boutique hotels in the heart of the bustling bazaars, luxurious resorts along the Nile, and charming guesthouses tucked away in maze-like alleyways. Among the many choices available, those searching for the Best Hotels in Cairo will find a diverse selection that caters to different preferences and budgets, ensuring a memorable stay amidst the rich cultural heritage of Islamic Cairo.
The History of Islamic Cairo:
The modern part is called Cairo, the name of this new city. Later, in 1168, the first Muslim city in Egypt, called Fustat, was burned to prevent the Crusaders from capturing Cairo.
Islamic Cairo is a living reminder of the city’s past, even though it is no longer in the center of it. Most ancient walls have fallen, but the city’s historic streets still contain hundreds of beautiful ruins and mosques.
A big part of what makes Islamic Cairo unique as a historic district is how lively it is. Although palaces and administrative buildings were built quickly in Cairo when it was first planned, in the 12th century, the city’s population moved within the walls and never left.
Although the buildings are old and worn, Islamic Cairo remains one of Cairo’s most densely populated areas. Millions of Egyptians pass by her excellent background daily as they move on.
There are many nooks, crannies, and places of different sizes and levels of importance in these small streets. It is also still a busy commercial area, another part of this problem.
Islamic Cairo Highlights:
- Spend some time at Al-Azhar Mosque, which is just across the street. It has been the center of Sunni Islamic learning for over a thousand years.
- Look at the view from the Bain al-Qasrayn end, which is closest to the south. If you add some beauty, you might be in a 19th-century engraving.
- Compare the Ibn Tulun Mosque to the picture on your £5 bill and stop by the Gayer Anderson Museum, a private home with exciting artwork and collectibles next door.
- Shopping in Khan El Khalili.
- You can see the medieval area from the top of the minarets of Bab Zuweila.
Main Sights of Islamic Cairo:
El Muizz Street, which runs between Bab Al-Futuh and Bab Zuweila, the entrance to the original Fatimid city, has the most important historical sites in Islamic Cairo.
Many Fatimid and Mamluk buildings were built on the city’s main street. “Palace Walk,” a book by Naguib Mahfouz, was named after this street.
The area between Bab el Futuh and Khan el Khalili in the north has just been fixed. This is one of the city’s most beautiful spots, and the Qala’un complex is one of the town’s most impressive buildings. Khan el Khalili, a famous 14th-century souk, is an excellent place to spend a day and evening.
In 2011, repair work began on the street’s northern side, from the Al Ghouria complex to Bab Zuweila. Near Khan el, Khalili is the famous Al Azhar mosque, which the Fatimids built in 972 B.C. It is part of the area of one of the world’s oldest universities, which is still an important place for Islamic thought.
Some of the most impressive buildings in the city are in the southern part of Islamic Cairo. Saladin (Salah Al-Deen), an Ayyubid general, started building the Citadel of Cairo in the 12th century.
It was meant to be the city’s government center and stayed there until the 19th century when it was moved Downtown to the Abdeen Palace.
Today, the Citadel has fantastic city views and several museums about the Egyptian army and police. Also inside are three critical mosques. The oldest, the Al Nasir Muhammed Mosque, was built in 1335 in the Mamluk style, and the Suleyman Pasha Mosque was built in 1528 after the Ottoman Empire took control of Egypt.
The Ali Alabaster Mosque is a vital addition named after the man who is thought to be the father of modern Egypt.
Below the Citadel is the grand Sultan Hassan Mosque, which the Sultan built with the same name in the 1400s. This large building was constructed as a madrasa, a religious school, with some of the most beautiful architectural details ever seen in a mosque.
Because it is close to the Citadel, it was used as a military fort during political unrest, and this has caused it to get some damage over time.
The Citadel and the mosque of Sultan Hassan are about the same distance from Ibn Tulun. This is the largest and one of the oldest mosques, and it was built in 872 A.D.
Because it was built during the Abbasid era, when people from Iraq ruled Egypt, it has a strong structure that shows off the style of architecture in Samarra. Even though it’s not one of the most popular tourist spots, its inner courtyard is worth a visit because of its unique design.
Also inside the walls is the Gayer Anderson Museum, a mansion from the 12th century that a British colonial officer in the 1930s carefully fixed up.
It is close to the Citadel, the Sultan Hassan Mosque, and the Ibn Tulun Mosque, which makes it easy to visit all three in one day.
A new part of Islamic Cairo is the Park of Al Azhar. For hundreds of years, people in Cairo threw their trash outside the city walls, making a giant mountain of waste that towers over the city.
In the 1990s, the Egyptian government started a plan to clean up the area and turn it into a beautiful park. Al Azhar is now a 74-acre park in a city with more green spaces. This beautiful area has a great view of the city from its lawns, gardens, and ponds.
There are also beautiful restaurants and cafes. From this park, you can see the sunset and hear the echoes of prayers from thousands of minarets.