This mosque was built for Ahmad ibn Tulun, son of a Turkish slave of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun, From these humble origins he rose to great power, founding the Tulunid Dynasty (868-905 AD) of Egypt. Ibn Tulun founded a new royal city on an outcrop of rock called Jabal Yashkur near the Muqattam range to the northeast of al-Fustat (Southern central part of present day Cairo). The mosque that he had built over a period of three years (870 to 879 AD) out of mud-bricks, in order to accommodate all of his troops, it became the focal point of the Tulunid capital that lasted only 26 years.
It was the third congregational mosque to be built in what is now greater Cairo, and at approximately 26,318 square meters in size, it ranks 4th or 5th in the top 10 largest mosques in the world. It is the oldest mosque in Egypt that has survived in a fairly original form, after Amr ibn El Aas mosque. An ancient calligraphy in 9th century Kufic script provides: “The Amir… has ordered the construction of this blessed and happy mosque, using the revenues from a pure and legitimate source that God has granted him…”.
There have been several renovations in modern times, including major work in 1999 that included the paving of the courtyard and the refacing of the fountain in black marble.
Here is a peek at Ibn Tulun Mosque through the lenses of photographer Ahmad Ghonaim:
[All Photographs by Ahmad Ghonaim for UrbanPeek.com]