The first mosque built in Egypt, this structure was established in AD 642 by the general who conquered Egypt for Islam. Built on the site where Ibn Al As pitched his tent, the original structure was only palm trunks thatched with leaves. It expanded to its current size in AD 827, and has been continually reworked since then – most recently, a wood roof was installed to mimic the original style more closely.
The oldest section is to the right of the sanctuary; the rest of the mosque is a forest of some 200 different columns, the majority taken from ancient sites. There’s little else to see, but the vast space is a pleasant place to rest. To reach it, head north on Sharia Mar Girgis, beyond the Coptic compound and past Souq Al Fustat, a covered market with quality craft shops and a cafe.