(From L to R) Cairo governor Khaled Abdel-Aal, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa cutting the red tap during the inauguration of The Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah mosque after the completion of restoration on Monday 27 February, 2023.
Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of antiquities, said that the restoration process employed the latest scientific methods and has been carried out in collaboration between the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Al-Bohara group.
He stressed that every effort had been made to ensure that all the original architectural features were retained.
The restoration aimed mainly to reinforce the walls and clean the masonry and desalinate it.
It also aimed to clean and strengthen the building’s architectural designs, wooden ceilings, mashrabiya (lattice woodwork) windows, as well as its arcades, paintings, engravings and fine metal ornaments.
The mosque is the fourth oldest mosque in Egypt and the second largest after the Mosque of ibn Tulun.
The construction of the mosque was begun in 380 AH/990 AD by Al-Hakim’s father, the Fatimid Caliph Al-Aziz bi Allah , who died before its completion, leaving his son to finish it in 403 AH/1013 AD.
The mosque is located at the end of Al-Muizz Street in Al-Gamaliya district, near Bab Al-Futuh.
It was originally constructed outside the walls of the city which were commissioned by the Fatimid Vizier Jawhar Al-Siqilli.
The mosque was later incorporated into the walls that were built by Badr Al-Din Al-Jamali in 480 AH/1078 AD.
The main entrance lies on the western facade of the mosque and is monumental in size and design.
It is one of the oldest architectural examples of projecting entrances and was influenced by the great Mosque of Mahdiya in Tunis.
The mosque once served as a Shiite centre in Egypt, operating as Al-Azhar Mosque did in the Fatimid period.
The plan of the mosque consists of a rectangle with four arcades and a courtyard at its centre. Two minarets flank either side of the façade.
The mosque has undergone several restoration phases throughout the years.
It has a long and intriguing history, including its role as a barracks during the French campaign, when its minarets were utilised as watch-towers.
Its qibla arcade was used as a museum of Islamic art called the House of Arab Antiquities.