French expert Christophe Polio, from the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP), has embarked on an inspection tour around Al-Tunbagha Al-Mardani Mosque in Bab Zuweila area to check its architectural conditions as a step towards drawing up a plan for its restoration.
Mohamed Abdel Aziz, head of the Historic Cairo unit at the Ministry of Antiquties, told Ahram Online that the mosque edifice has several problems due to erosion. There is also a high level of humidity and accumulated salts on the mosque's walls due to the leakage of water from nearby streets.
Its existence in a busy residential area, Abdel Aziz said, has added to its deterioration due to the negative behaviour of area inhabitants who throw garbage beside it.The mosque was also subject to bad restoration practices in 1896 by the Arab Heritage Conservation Committee, responsible for Islamic monuments at the time.
After his inspection tour, Polio told Ahram Online that the prayer hall (Iwan Al-Qibla) is the most deteriorated part of the mosque and needs to be completely rehabilitated. Cracks have spread over the walls and its woodwork and marble are in a very bad condition.
Polio is to write a detailed report on the mosque's condition and will suggest a plan for its restoration. Both are to be submitted to Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany for discussion in a special meeting with Polio next week.
The mosque of Al-Tanbugha Al-Mardani was built in the style of congregational mosques. it has a court surrounded by four aisles. The deepest and largest of the aisles is the one in the direction of prayer.
In the centre of the nave there is an octagonal fountain covered with marble. The facade of the northern aisle is covered with beautiful marble inscribed with the date of construction. The rest of the prayer direction wall is covered with a fine marble dado, or panel, inlaid with mother of pearl.
The Mosque has three entrances and a dome supported by eight granite pillars.