The Amr ibn Al-A'as Mosque rises to the northeast of the Coptic Quarter in Cairo. It was built north of the Roman fortifications in 642 by Amr ibn Al-A'as, the commander of the Muslim army that had conquered Egypt.
There is a legend associated with the construction of the mosque. After a long siege of the Roman fortress of Babylon, the Arab commander Amr ibn Al-A'as was victorious. The next stage of their conquest of Egypt was to be Alexandria. The military camp then collapsed with only the commander's tent remaining. Two pigeons made a nest on it and the general took this as a good omen and left the tent. When the chicks left the nest and flew away, a mosque was built in its place.
In 827, the temple was thoroughly rebuilt, but the old shape of the building, built of dried brick, with a roof covered with palm leaves, without a mihrab, courtyard or minaret, has still been preserved.
During the Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, the mosque was extended and a mihrab and a wooden pulpit (minibar) were added. Many changes then took place during the Turkish rule. Greek and Roman columns (150) were placed in the temple and three minarets were erected.
The present mosque has a courtyard surrounded on four sides by a colonnade. Many Byzantine plaques with Byzantine carvings and floral motifs draw your attention.
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