Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
March 3, 2008
From journal Conquering Al-Qahira: a Walk Through Old Cairo
Carshalton, United Kingdom
July 25, 2004
There is little decoration, except for some architectural ornamentation around the top of the arcades, however the simple clear lines of the architecture are striking enough in themselves and need no embellishments. Large wooden doors lead off to the outer courtyard, which surrounds the mosque like a moat. This would originally have been filled with shops and stalls.
The Mosque is a very peaceful place; we were the only visitors at the time, and impressive both in terms of its size and simplicity. During our visit in September 2003 the complex was undergoing a lot of restoration so many of the walls were covered in scaffolding and, unfortunately, the minaret was closed so we weren’t able to climb up it. A bit of a regret as I had read that the views over Islamic Cairo are fantastic. We did, however, get to climb up the structure containing the ablutions fountains, which did allow us to gain a better impression of the scale of the mosque. However, take care where you step as the brickwork is un-even and it wouldn’t be hard to lose your footing and trip over.
Entry costs 12.00 Egyptian Pounds ($2) per person plus baksheesh for the canvas coverings to go over your shows and a guide, if you would like one.
From journal Cairo - Ancient and Modern
October 1, 2003
From the outside the splendor of the mosque is not as visible. All that is visible are towering mud-brick walls, waiting for their turn in the enormous restoration project being undertaken by the Egyptian government. Once you walk through the gate, the outer courtyard, and into the main courtyard of the mosque, however, the architectural genius of Ibn Tulun becomes apparent.
The first thing that greets you upon entering the mosque, besides the workers who try to charge you for holding on to your shoes (just carry them, it’s easier), is the vast stone courtyard with a large stone fountain standing square in the middle. Proceeding around the outside of the courtyard, it is hard not to appreciate the geometric perfection of the mosque and to notice the pointed arches, built almost 200 years before they made their way into Christian architecture. The mosque also contains a finely ornamented mihrab and minbar.
The mosque is absolutely enormous for it was designed to house the whole Muslim community at the time. That is why every trip must include a climb up the magnificent spiraled minaret. The minaret is the most distinct and recognizable minaret in all of Cairo. A slippery set of stone stairs winds around the outside of the minaret to a narrow balcony a few feet from the top. From there a narrow set of steep stairs takes you inside the utmost point of the minaret. From here you can look out the windows and get one of the most spectacular views in all of Cairo. Looking down you get the perfect vantage point to witness the magnificence of the mosque. Just beyond the mosque you get the best view of the citadel in the whole city, and from all other directions you can gaze out upon the hazy horizon of Cairo.
The mosque is hardly visited by tourists, and chances are you will be able to take a good amount of time alone in the top of the minaret to just take in the sights and sounds of Cairo. The black and white taxis whizzing by below, honking their horns, the shouts of shopkeepers, and the tatter of the restoration below. All of this makes Ibn Tulun one of the most spectacular mosque experiences in all of Cairo.
From journal Islamic Cairo: Go beyond the Pyramids