The Opening of Al-Zaher Baybars Mosque after Restoration The Opening of Al-Zaher Baybars Mosque after Restoration
June 21, 2023
In celebration of his 800th birthday, the mosque built by al-Zaher Baybars in Cairo has been open to the public after the completion of its restoration work. The mosque dates to the Mamluk Period and is of great historic, religious, and touristic importance. The mosque is the 3rd largest mosque in Egypt, and was built between 1266-1268 AD.
Baybars, who was from central Asia (modern day Kazakhstan), started his life in Egypt under the rule of al-Saleh al-Ayouby when he was just a Mameluke. He rose in ranks and power until he became a commander in the army and later became the sultan of Egypt and Syria. Baybars was a very successful military leader, he bravely repelled the French forces during the 7th Crusade of king Louise IX and defeated the Mongol army that was a major threat at the time. The Mamluk sultan is credited for major infrastructure and military reforms in the country.
The mosque is rectangular in shape, with a central open courtyard surrounded by four arcades. The mosque is richly decorated by ornate carvings, detailed calligraphy, and intricate tilework. The minaret stands at 45 meters tall, making it one of the tallest minarets in Cairo.
Interestingly, the mosque was reused multiple times for different purposes, it was used by the French occupation army as a fortress and was then used as a soap factory under Mohammed Ali’s rule, then as a bakery and finally as a slaughterhouse by the British occupation forces.