Aqsunqur Mosque – A Real Gem in Cairo’s Old Islamic Quarter

Aqsunqur Mosque is also sometimes referred to as the Blue Mosque or the Mosque of Ibrahim Agha. It is one of several well-known Blue Mosques in the world, all of which have got the name due to the extensive use of blue ceramic tiles within their interiors. Today, Aqsunqur Mosque is a somewhat important Cairo tourist attraction located in the Tabbana Quarter in a part of the city known as Islamic Cairo.

Aqsunqur Mosque - Photo by Marc Lacoste

Courtyard of Aqsunqur Mosque

This magnificent mosque is also home to a number of mausoleums; those belonging to Sham ad-Din Aqsunqur, the mosque’s founder; his sons, and a number of children from a Mamluk sultan. There is also the mausoleum of Ibrahim Agha al-Mustahfizan who took it upon himself to have extensive renovations done after the mosque fell into a state of disrepair.

The architectural style of the mosque is mostly Syrian, although there are several features which are typical of mosques built elsewhere as well, and it is the presence of these design styles and features which help to make Aqsunqur Mosque such a unique and special mosque to visit.

Another very unique aspect of the mosque is that it was built around the mausoleum of sultan al-Ashraf Kujuk which was already standing on the site, and this is why the mosque has a somewhat irregular structure.

For anyone who happens to be an Islamic architecture enthusiast, the Aqsunqur Mosque is an absolute must-see.

A Brief History of Aqsunqur Mosque

Prince Shams Ad-Din Aqsunqur, the son of a former sultan, ordered the mosque to be built in 1347. Historical records show that Aqsunqur personally supervised the entire project, and even helped with the actual building of the mosque.

Aqsunqur had previously served as governor in Tripoli, and it is believed that this explains why the architectural style of the Aqsunqur Mosque is mostly Syrian.

The mosque has also served as a funerary complex, hence the presence of numerous mausoleums, including the mausoleum of Aqsunqur himself.

Unfortunately, the mosque was not very well maintained, and by the 15h-century, the overall condition of the mosque had deteriorated quite significantly. The lack of maintenance was entirely due to a lack of funds from Syria, and this also resulted in the mosque only being used for Friday prayers and on religious holidays.

Fortunately, when the area was under Ottoman rule, another prince by the name of Ibrahim Agha al-Mustahfizan gave orders for the mosque to be extensively renovated, a project which lasted from 1652 to 1654.

During the renovation process, the mosque’s roof and all the mosque’s arcades were completely restored, and a number of columns were added to the interior.

It was also Ibrahim Agha also had the interior of the Aqsunqur Mosque extensively decorated with blue and green tiles crafted in typical Iznik style, all of which were brought in from Constantinople and Damascus.

Finally, he gave orders to have his own mausoleum built within the mosque complex. After all work was completed, the mosque was then renamed after him, but for some unknown reason, its new name was rarely used.

Another major renovation and restoration project got carried in out 1902, and then in 1995 the Egyptian government paid for repairs which were necessary due to the 1992 Cairo earthquake.

Later, in 2009, Aqsunqur Mosque was once again closed for renovations and restoration work, a project which would continue until 2015, at which point the mosque once again opened its doors to the public.

Visiting Aqsunqur Mosque in Cairo

Cairo cityscape as seen from top of Aqsunqur Mosque

Cairo cityscape as seen from top of Aqsunqur Mosque

We believe that Aqsunqur Mosque is a really good place to visit, and even more so if you are going to be in the part of the city known as Islamic Cairo.

Regardless of which religion you follow, or even if you don’t follow any religion at all, this is a really fascination complex, and one which will present you with some truly unforgettable photo opportunities. It is quite literally overflowing character.

As is the case with numerous Cairo Tourist Attractions, Aqsunqur Mosque is not automatically featured in all of our Cairo Tour Packages or our classic Egypt Tour Packages. Please keep this in mind if you are considering booking one of our package tours.

Also keep in mind that Aqsunqur Mosque can however be added to any one of our tours. Simply let one of our travel specialists know that you would like to visit this fabulous attraction, and they will be more than happy to customize your preferred tour accordingly.