In the Jamaliyya area, the Aqmar Mosque is located on al-Muizz li Din Allah Street. It was constructed to the north of the now-defunct Eastern Fatimid Palace in Cairo, Egypt; during the time of its construction.
Aqmar Mosque is one of Egypt’s most magnificent Fatimid mosques and the oldest of the country’s remaining tiny mosques. Perhaps the most conspicuous of its distinguishing features is its western façade; which is one of the oldest stone facades in Egyptian Islamic architecture; adorned in this richly variegated style. The ornate motifs on the façade of Cairo’s al-Hakim Mosque
‘s projection portal (built AH 403 / AD 1012) may have affected the construction and decorating of this building’s entryway.
Stone, as well as brick, was utilised in Fatimid building; according to historical sources. Nasir Khasraw, a notable traveller who visited Egypt in AH 439 / AD 1048; recounts the Fatimid palaces he observed as having rock walls that fit into one other. Also, it was carved out of a single block of rock so perfectly that the viewer thought it had been carved out of a single block of rock.
The design has been cut out symmetrically on the façade and entry, and contains a number of components such as shell forms, blind-arched niches supported on spiral columns, as well as vases, rosettes, and diamond forms. on the other hand, the façade also features muqarnas (chamfered-edged niches); a novel architectural feature in Egyptian Islamic architecture that was previously only seen on a gate; Bab al-Futuh in Cairo (built AH 480 / AD 1087).
Inscription bands sculpted in the floriated kufic script adorn the façade as well. A minaret to the left of the entry was built by command of Amir Yalbugha al-Salimi; who was in the court of Sultan al-Zahir Barquq; who reigned twice (AH 784–91 / AD 1382– 9 and in AH 792–801 / AD 1390–9).
The interior of the mosque measures 28 m x 17.50 m. then, an open square courtyard in the middle; with a side length of 10 m and four roofed sections with rows of columns, is made up of four roofed spaces with rows of columns.
Features of Aqmar Mosque
The qibla region is the deepest of all; in addition, three colonnades; whereas each of the other three sectors has just one colonnade. In addition, the colonnades’ arches are all composed of brick. The colonnades of the mosque are covered with modest shallow brick arches; with the exception of the one that precedes the mihrab. Spherical-triangular pendentives are used in the transition zones of all the domes, a style that was previously used in Cairo’s Bab al-Nasr and Bab al-Futuh, both constructed in the Fatimid period, around AH 480 / AD 1087.
Later, in the Mamluk period, the style was adopted to construct Cairo’s Khanqah Faraj ibn Barquq (built AH 813 / AD 1410).In Ottoman mosques; where a multitude of miniature domes were employed to top the archways; the spherical-triangular pendentives became popular.
One of the most distinctive features of this mosque’s floor layout is its response to the street layout; which deviates from the qibla’s orientation; and is where the building’s western front and entrance are located. There is; however, a regard for the qibla’s direction; as seen by a rectangular cross-section that serves as a transition space; In addition, the outside facing the street and the inside facing the qibla’s direction. Finally, this mosque is regarded as one of the earliest examples of a building that employed a triangle shape to adapt to the housing fabric around it in the Islamic world.
In the AH 13th / AD 19th century; the mosque was subjected to encroachments, the most notable of which resulted in the destruction of the right-hand half of the western façade; which was substituted by a residential building. The building that had intruded on the mosque was demolished in the twentieth century. Also, the mosque’s façade was then rebuilt to its former state using the elements of the left-hand side; which was intended to be identical to the right-hand side.