Egypt's antiquities ministry in October is to start a comprehensive restoration project of three of Al-Khalifa area's monuments, including Al-Sayeda Rokaya Mosque and Mausoleum and both Qubet Aateka and Al-Gaafari.
Al Khalfa area is located in Al-Sayeda Zeinab district in Down Town Cairo and it houses a number of Islamic monuments from the Ayuubid and Fatimid era. Among the most important is the mausoleum of Queen Shagaret Al-Dur, wife of the Ayyubid Sultan Nagm Al-Dim Ayub, the Mosque and Mausoleum of Prophet Mohamed's daughter Al-Sayeda Rokaya and both Qubet Aateka and Al-Gaafari which are mausoleums of members of Prophet Mohamed family.
Antiquities Minster Mamdouh El-Damaty told Ahram Online that the project – funded via a US grant of $116 million – should help promote tourism to Egypt.
Rokaya mosque and mausoleum
Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, said the restoration work will be carried out in two phases. The first is consolidating the structure's foundations, columns and walls. Also, cracks that have spread over the buildings in the past centuries will be restored while salt accumulated in several locations inside and outside the structures due to the high rate of humidity will be removed.
The second phase includes the restoration of all the buildings' wooden items, as well as repairing or replacing damaged tiles. All the decorative elements of the ceilings will also be restored.
According to the project timeline, the restoration project is to be completed in July 2015 and the three monuments will be ready for official inauguration, said Abdel-Aziz.
Qubet Aateka and Al-Gaafari
Al-Sayeda Rokaya Mosque and Mausoleum was built by Al-Sayeda Alam Al-Amireya, the wife of Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah in remembrance of Prophet Mohamed's daughter Rokaya. It is located at the western side of the Al-Khalifa street adjacent to the Sagaret Al-Dur mosque. The mausoleum has three arcades and two niches with gypsum foliage elements. Neighbouring the Al-Sayeda Rokaya Mosque and mausoleum found both Qubet Aateka and Al-Gaafari.
Qubet Al-Gaffari was built in 1120 AD and it belongs to Mohamed Ibn Gaafar the grand-grand son of Prophet Mohamed's cousin Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. Qubet Aateka was built in 1122 AD and it belongs to Al-Sayeda Aateka bent Zeid, Prophet Mohamed's aunt.
Abdel Aziz said that Qubet Aateka is very important because it houses the oldest Fatimid dome ever found while Qubet Al-Gaffari and Al-Sayeda Rokaya mosque and mausoleum display a distinguished Islamic decorative elements and were built later after their death to commemorate them.
Rokaya mausoleum from inside