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Al Aqmar Mosque ( 519 A.H. / 1125 A.D. )

The Fatimid caliph Al- Amir Bi ahkam allah has built the mosque in 519 A.H. The total area of the mosque is about 780 meters sq. ( 37 m X 21 m ), the plan consists of small courtyard with an ablutary that was cancelled later for lack of space & was replaced by another one ordered by Yalbugha al – salami. Surrounding this courtyard four aisles that had no transept similar to that found in Al Azhar mosque. The qibla covered area which is in the southeast side consists of three riwaqs composed each of five pointed arches supported on marble columns, the first & second riwaqs are topped by shallow dome supported on spherical triangular pendentives & built of red bricks, which reflected the Byzantine influence on it’s construction, whereas the mihrab’s riwaq was covered by a wooden ceiling dome that lost it’s ornamentation. The southwest aisle consists of rectangular space covered by three shallow domes built from red bricks, the two northwest & northeast aisles are similar, as they are rectangular in shape covered by five shallow domes also built on pendentives: the first had a front vestibule following the entrance directly & has a few small rooms to keep the quarters of the holly Quran & the second contains a side door, lately closed.

The minaret was built at the top of the entrance to accentuate it, it’s composed of a circular shaft ending with salactities carrying the wooden balcony & crowned by an onion shaped dome, however it’s is probable that the present minaret was built during the mamluks replace the one which was ruined during the earthquake in 702 A.H./ 1303 A.D.

The plan of the mosque has regarded for the first time the street line, & at the same time is internally oriented towards the qibla creating a space for the entrance vestibule, contrary to the other Fatimid mosques, in which the entrances lead to the mosque directly, a matter that enhance the mosque’s privacy, providing quietness & a sense of peace needed by prayers.