Ibn Tulun Mosque Overview

Nestled in the heart of Cairo, Ibn Tulun Mosque stands as one of the best examples of Islamic architecture's grandeur. Built in the 9th century by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, it is Cairo's oldest and largest mosque and retains its original form. It is famous for its courtyard, spiral minaret and captivating geometric stucco decorations. This architectural masterpiece is also a great place to learn about the rich history of Islam.

Nestled in the heart of Cairo, the Ibn Tulun Mosque stands as a testament to Islamic architectural brilliance. The mosque was between 876 and 879 AD under the reign of Ahmad ibn Tulun. It is the oldest mosque in Cairo to retain its original form and also the largest in terms of land area. This mosque, with its vast courtyard and unique spiral minaret, offers a glimpse into Egypt’s rich Islamic heritage.

The architecture of the mosque is inspired by the Abbasid constructions in mosques in Iraq. It showcases a blend of ancient Egyptian styles with Islamic artistry. The prominent spiral minaret resembles the minarets in Samarra in Iraq and offers panoramic views of Cairo. Additionally, you can see intricate stucco and wood carvings in the mosque's interior. These details reflect the sophistication of Abbasid art. The natural light filtering through the arched windows further enhances the mosque's appeal.

Ibn Tulun Mosque's historical significance goes beyond its architectural grandeur. It represents the introduction of pointed arches in Islamic architecture. These arches later influenced European Gothic architecture. Today, this mosque is a place of worship, while also serving as a symbol of cultural exchange and architectural innovation. It attracts visitors from around the world to marvel at its beauty and historical importance.


• Climb the unique spiral minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque for a panoramic view of Cairo’s landscapes.
• Wander through the vast courtyard, experiencing the mosque's serene atmosphere and architectural grandeur.
• Marvel at the intricate stucco and woodwork decorating the mosque, showcasing Islamic artistry.
• Admire the mihrab’s detailed craftsmanship, highlighting the mosque’s spiritual significance.
• Explore the surrounding ziyada, an open area enveloping the mosque, offering a glimpse into its historic past.

How To Reach

By Road: From Downtown Cairo, Ibn Tulun Mosque is just 3 kilometres away. If you are driving, take the Corniche el-Nil road southbound. From there, switch to Saleh Salem Road before turning onto Port Said Street. This will lead straight to the mosque, taking around 10 to 15 minutes.

By Bus: Several public buses run near Ibn Tulun Mosque. Look for buses heading towards Sayeda Zeinab or Fustat, as they usually pass near the mosque. The bus journey typically takes 20 to 30 minutes from Downtown Cairo.

Best Time To Visit

You can visit the Ibn Tulun Mosque throughout the year. Its history and architecture captivate visitors in every season.

Best Day of the Week: It is best to visit the mosque during the Egyptian working week from Sunday to Thursday. These days see fewer visitors, allowing for a more serene exploration.

Best Time of Day: Opt for a morning visit to the mosque before the afternoon prayer times. This time offers cooler temperatures, a calm atmosphere and fewer crowds. This makes it ideal for soaking in the mosque's beauty.

Other Essential Information

  • Dress modestly to respect local customs, and cover your shoulders, arms and legs.
  • Women should bring a scarf to cover their heads inside the mosque.
  • Remove your shoes before entering as a sign of respect.
  • Avoid visiting during prayer times and on Fridays to not disturb worshippers.
  • Speak quietly and turn off mobile phones to maintain the mosque's peaceful atmosphere.
  • Photography is allowed, however, avoid taking pictures of people praying.
  • Follow signs or ask staff for the designated tourist path to respect prayer areas.
  • Read up on the mosque's history before your visit to enhance your experience.
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Point of Interest for Ibn Tulun Mosque
Climb the Spiral Minaret

Climb the Spiral Minaret

Begin your journey at Ibn Tulun Mosque at the iconic spiral minaret. This minaret resembles the ancient Minaret of Samarra in Iraq. It also displays the Abbasid caliphate's architectural influence. You will find the staircase a bit tricky, however, the view at the top is worth every step. As you climb to the top, you can feel the ancient red bricks that are prominent in this architectural marvel. Once at the top, Cairo stretches out like a vast tapestry below, offering unmatched panoramic views. This is a moment where the city's hustle fades, leaving you in serene contemplation of its beauty.

Admire the Arched Windows and Stucco Work

Admire the Arched Windows and Stucco Work

Ibn Tulun Mosque is a masterclass in Abbasid architecture, and its arched windows and intricate stucco work are a fine example of this. As you wander the halls, you can notice how each window and arch tells a story of design and devotion. The upper part of the mosque has 128 pierced stucco windows decorated with geometric patterns and floral designs. These marble carvings display the Abbasid caliphate's love for art. They are also inspired by the details of the Umayyad Great Mosque in Damascus. These windows are the perfect features to pause and appreciate the artistry that the mosque is known for.

Visit the Gayer-Anderson Museum

Visit the Gayer-Anderson Museum

Right outside the mosque, the Gayer-Anderson Museum offers a glimpse into the past. This preserved home, connected to the mosque through a historic gate, is filled with artefacts that tell the story of life in historical Cairo. The rooms, decorated with period furniture and art, transport you back in time. Here, you can find samples of Cairo’s architecture from the 17th century, in addition to carpets and artefacts from around the world. The museum uses the outer walls of the Ibn Tulun Mosque for support. It is a beautiful complement to your mosque visit, showing the lived experience beyond its walls.

Explore the Vast Courtyard

Explore the Vast Courtyard

Step into the expansive courtyard, where the mosque's grand scale truly hits you. The sense of peace here is palpable, a quiet oasis in the heart of Cairo. As you walk around the courtyard, you will come across the ancient fauwara, or fountain, at the centre. This fountain is inspired by the traditional Abbasid designs. You can even see worshippers bustling around the fountain as they come here to pray. The architectural symmetry and the play of light and shadow through the day make this a place of tranquil beauty and reflection.

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