El Moaz Street in Old Cairo
El-Moaz Street may not be the Pyramids, but it is a must-see to get a true sense of the history of Islamic Cairo and to see some truly mind-blowing medieval Islamic architecture and art. It provides a pedestrian street experience without the need to pay admission to a museum-type setting. Visitors can appreciate the architecture up close and personal without any curated displays.
El Moez Street Location
El-Moez Street is located from Bab Al-Futuh in the north to Bab Zuweila in the south. The northern part of the street goes from Al-Hakim mosque to the spice market in Al-Azhar Street, and the southern part goes from the Ghuriya complex to Bab Zuweila.
Take a look at The Pyramid of Menkaure
A Little Background about El Moaz Street
One of the remarkable features of El-Moaz Street is its age, dating back to the Fatimid period in the 10th century. The street has witnessed centuries of Cairo's history and served as a bustling center of commerce, culture, and religious life. As you walk along the cobblestone streets, you can admire the intricate details of the buildings, including ornate arches, carved wooden screens, and exquisite stucco work, all showcasing the architectural brilliance of the time.
El-Moaz Street has many historical mosques, Islamic schools, and mausoleums. The most famous one is the Al-Hakim Mosque, named after the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who ruled in the 11th century. This mosque is a must-visit site for people interested in Islamic architecture and history because of its huge minarets and beautiful interiors.
In addition to religious and educational institutions, El-Moaz Street is also known for its lively bazaars and markets. You can find traditional shops here selling a wide range of items, such as spices, textiles, ceramics, and handicrafts. Walking through these busy markets is a delightful sensory experience where you can take in the sights, sounds, and smells that define Old Cairo.
At night, El-Moaz Street is beautifully lit up, showcasing its historic buildings. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy various cultural events and festivals, which provide a unique opportunity to experience Cairo's rich heritage and traditions.
Over the years, efforts have been made to restore and preserve the architectural treasures of El-Moaz Street. These projects aim to maintain its historical integrity while ensuring accessibility for future generations. Consequently, El-Moaz Street remains a living connection to Cairo's past and a tribute to the enduring beauty of Islamic architecture and culture in the capital city of Egypt.
About Islamic Cairo History
It can be challenging to provide a concise explanation of Egypt's Islamic history, especially regarding Cairo, due to the various Islamic dynasties. However, it's crucial to understand the significance of terms like Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman.
Centuries of Islamic history have made Cairo a vibrant center of Islamic culture and civilization. It all began in the 7th century, when the Arab armies, under the leadership of Amr ibn al-As, conquered the region that would become Egypt. This introduced Islam to the land, and Cairo eventually became the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate in the 10th century. The Fatimids played a crucial role in shaping the city's architectural and cultural landscape. They constructed landmarks such as the Al-Azhar Mosque and the iconic gates, Bab al-Futuh and Bab Zuweila.
The Mamluk era, which began in the 13th century, is another significant chapter in Cairo's Islamic history. The Mamluks were slave soldiers who established a dynasty that lasted for several centuries. Under their rule, Cairo flourished as a major economic and cultural center of the Islamic world. They commissioned some of the city's most exquisite monuments, such as the Sultan Hassan Mosque and the Madrasa-Mausoleum of Sultan Qalawun.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cairo underwent significant modernization and urban expansion while retaining its deep Islamic roots. It continued to be a center of religious scholarship and cultural preservation. Today, Cairo is a living testament to the enduring legacy of Islamic civilization. Its historic mosques, madrasas, and bazaars provide a window into the city's rich Islamic heritage.
Some of the famous landmarks of Al-Muizz Street
Moez Street today is a mix of medieval mosques and buildings alongside modern vendors and shops in an Old Cairo neighbourhood called Gamaleya. The famous Khan el Khalili bazaar is located nearby. If you want to learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to Khan el Khalili.
Al Aqamar Mosque
The Aqmar Mosque in Cairo is an important religious and architectural landmark with a beautiful façade decorated with intricate geometric patterns, Quranic inscriptions, and colored marble. It was built in the 12th century and has a domed prayer hall and intricate stucco work inside. The mosque is open to both worshippers and tourists.
Bayt Al-Suhaymi is a 17th-century house that showcases traditional Egyptian architecture and Ottoman-style design. It has a peaceful courtyard with a central fountain and well-preserved interior spaces that provide a glimpse into the lifestyle of affluent families in Cairo during the Ottoman period. Today, it is a captivating museum that offers a fascinating glimpse into the cultural and architectural heritage of Old Cairo.
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Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun Mosque
The Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun Mosque is a 13th-century Mamluk-era mosque in Cairo. It has a vast courtyard with elegant columns, intricately decorated domes, and beautiful minarets. Inside, visitors can see stunning mosaics and ornate stucco work. It's a living testament to the enduring legacy of Islamic architecture and Mamluk patronage of grand architectural projects.
El-Ghorya is a historical complex in Old Cairo that includes a mosque, a sabil, and a khanqah. It showcases the Mamluk architectural heritage and Sufism's role in the region's cultural and religious life. Visitors can explore the site's beautiful geometric patterns, colorful tiles, and magnificent wooden pulpit to learn about the area's vibrant history and spirituality.