Mosque of Amr Ibn Al As


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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cairo attractions

1. Church of St Barbara


At the corner past Abu Sarga, the Church of St Barbara is dedicated to a martyr who was beaten to death by her father for trying to convert him to…

2. Church of St Sergius & Bacchus

0.31 MILES

This is the oldest church inside Coptic Cairo's walls, built in the 11th century with 4th-century pillars. It honours the Roman soldiers Sergius and…

4. Ben Ezra Synagogue

0.33 MILES

Just outside the walls of the Coptic enclave, the 9th-century Ben Ezra Synagogue occupies the shell of a 4th-century Christian church. Tradition marks…

5. Coptic Museum

0.34 MILES

This museum, founded in 1908, houses Coptic art from the earliest days of Christianity in Egypt right through to early Islam. It is a beautiful place, as…

6. Roman Towers

0.35 MILES

In AD 98 the Roman emperor Trajan enlarged an existing fortress here, called Babylon, likely a corruption of Per-hapi-en-on (Estate of the Nile God at On)…

7. Hanging Church

0.38 MILES

Just south of the Coptic Museum on Sharia Mar Girgis (the main road parallel with the metro), a stone facade inscribed with Coptic and Arabic marks the…