Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
The Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun lies in Saliba Street near by the Madrasa of Sarghatmish . It was erected by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, one of the greatest rulers in the Islamic history of Egypt and the founder of Tulunid Dynasty. His father was a Turkish slave who was sent to Baghdad by the Governor of Bukhara, as a present to the Abbasid Caliph, El Mamoun . Ibn Tulun learnt Arabic and studied Quran, the science of law and many religious books. Moreover, he took a military course at Samarraa and became very efficient and just man. In 868, Ibn Tulun was sent to Egypt as a representative of his uncle Emir Bakbak . He established the city of El-Qattai to be the capital of his independent province. This city was ruined in 905, and the mosque is the only remaining part of it. This mosque has a great importance since it remains basically as it was built, and it is regarded as a rare model for the art and architecture of this period.
The mosque is designed on the Samarran style as a main courtyard with a covered hall on each of its four sides. The Qibla aisle is the largest one of the four aisles. Originally, the mosque has its ablution fountain in the area among the inner and outer walls. But at the end of the 13th century, a distinctive Sabil with a high domed roof was added in the central courtyard by Sultan Lajin.
In the middle of the sanctuary hall of the Mosque appears the main Mihrab as a simple frame around a Niche. That Niche is decorated with fascinating plain Kufic inscriptions. To the right of the Mihrab, stands the door that Ahmad Ibn Tulun had been using to move from his palace to the Mosque directly.
One of the old legend says that some of the Inscribed Sycamore Boards were left over from Noah's Ark. These Inscribed Boards run below the ceiling and around the whole Mosque show verses from the Holy Quran. The frieze is two kilometers in length and comprises one-fifteenth of the whole book.
The Mosque has been restored several times. The first well-known restoration was made in 1177 under the supervision of the Fatimid minister Badr El-Gamaly. In 1296, Sultan Lajin carried out some restoration and enlargements operations.
In the north side of the mosque, there is a door leading to the Minaret. From the top of the Monument one can see some magnificent views of the Mosque and Madrasa of Emir Sarghatmish, Sharia Saliba, The Citadel, and Cairo extending west towards the Nile and the great Pyramids.