The Al Azhar Mosque is one of the most iconic and popular tourist destinations in Cairo, Egypt. This ancient mosque has been a center of learning and religious scholarship for centuries, and it’s no wonder that so many people are interested in visiting it. If you’re planning on traveling to Cairo, add the Al Azhar Mosque to your list of must-see places.

The mosque’s history

The mosque was built in 972 AD by the Fatimid Caliph. Al-Azhar Mosque has been known for Muslim world teachings because it has educated so many notable Islamic scholars over the centuries. Some of the most famous scholars at Al-Azhar include the philosopher and physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the polymath Ibn Rushd (Averroes),

The mosque is also home to the Azhar University, founded in 970 AD, and is one of the oldest universities in the world. The university is affiliated with Sunni Islam and offers degrees in Islamic studies, Arabic language and literature, Egyptian archaeology, and other subjects.

Al-Azhar Mosque is one of Cairo’s most popular tourist attractions. It receives over a million visitors each year. Visitors can explore the mosque’s courtyards, prayer halls, and museums. They can also climb to the top of one of its minarets for a panoramic view of Cairo.

The architecture and design of the mosque

Construction of the Al Azhar Mosque began in 970 CE under the orders of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah. The original mosque was a simple rectangular structure with minarets. Over the centuries, the mosque has been expanded several times to accommodate its growing congregation. 

The most notable expansion occurred in the 12th century under Caliph al-Aziz Billah. The current main prayer hall dates from this period and is considered one of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture. The structure is nearly 69 meters wide and is supported by several columns. Its walls are decorated with intricate plasterwork, marble inlays, and stained glass windows.

The mosque is built in the traditional Islamic style, with a large central courtyard and a prayer hall with a domed roof. The exterior of the mosque is decorated with intricate Islamic calligraphy. The mosque’s courtyard is open to the sky, surrounded by porticoes with arches supported by columns.

The mosque is famous for its five minarets, visible from all over the city. The minarets are an important part of Islamic architecture, and they are often used to call worshippers to prayer. These slender towers are visible from all over Cairo and help to give the city its iconic skyline. The minarets are not only aesthetic; they also serve an important function in Islamic worship. Minarets height assists in projecting the call over a large area. As such, they play an essential role in Cairo’s physical and spiritual landscape.

The prayer hall of the mosque can accommodate many worshippers. The hall is illuminated by natural light. The walls and ceiling of the prayer hall are decorated with Islamic geometric patterns and calligraphy.

What is the mosque used for

The mosque was originally built as a place of worship and learning. The school quickly became one of the Islamic world’s most important learning centers. In addition to teaching students about Islam, the school also taught subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and philosophy. Today, the mosque is still a teaching institution and a center for Islamic learning.

The mosque is located in Cairo’s Old City, near Khan el-Khalili bazaar. The mosque is built in the Fatimid architectural style, and its minarets are visible from many parts of Cairo. The Al Azhar Mosque is open to visitors every day from sunrise to sunset. Visitors must dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the prayer hall.

How to visit the mosque

The Al Azhar Mosque is located in the heart of Old Cairo, just a few minutes’ walk from the Egyptian Museum. If you’re coming from Tahrir Square, the easiest way to get there is by taking a taxi. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take the metro.

Here are some tips for how to visit the Al-Azhar Mosque:

Dress respectfully: While there is no dress code for visiting the mosque, it is important to dress modestly out of respect for those who worship. This means avoiding shorts or skirts above the knee, sleeveless tops, or anything else that may be considered revealing. In general, it is best to err on the side of caution when deciding what to wear.

Remove your shoes: Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque courtyard. There is usually a shoe rack near the entrance where you can leave them.

Be respectful: Remember that this place of worship should be treated with respect. This means keeping noise to a minimum, not taking photographs inside the mosque, and being mindful of your surroundings.

Once inside, take some time to explore the different courtyards and chambers at your own pace. If you want to learn more about the mosque’s history and Islamic architecture, there are plenty of informative signs throughout the complex. When ready to leave, retrace your steps to the entrance.

The significance of the mosque

The Al Azhar Mosque is significant not just to Muslims but to people of all faiths. It is a place of worship for Muslims, but it is also a place where non-Muslims can come to learn about Islam and appreciate its beauty. The mosque is open to visitors from all over the world, and there are often tour groups to see it.

In addition to its role as a place of learning, the Al Azhar Mosque is also an important place of worship for Muslims. Friday prayers are especially well attended, with worshippers often spilling out into the streets surrounding the mosque. Non-Muslim visitors are welcome to enter the mosque during opening hours and can explore the beautiful courtyards and prayer halls. 


The Al Azhar Mosque is a beautiful and historic mosque that holds significance for Muslims and non-Muslims. It is a place of worship and learning, and people worldwide admire its architecture. If you’re ever in Cairo, add this mosque to your list of places to visit.