The Aqmar Mosque (Arabic: الجامع الأقمرromanized: al-jāmiʿ al-aqmarlit. ‘the moonlit mosque’), built in Cairo, Egypt, as a neighborhood mosque by the Fatimid vizier al-Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi. It is on what was once the main avenue and ceremonial heart of Cairo, known today as al-Mu’izz Street, in the immediate neighborhood of the former Fatimid caliphal palaces. It is an important monument of Fatimid architecture and of historic Cairo. Due to the exceptional decoration of its exterior façade and the innovative design of its floor plan.

 In 1906, before modern restorations. (The right half of the facade was missing.)


The mosque was built by the Fatimid vizier al-Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi, who served in this position from 1121 to 1125 under the Caliph al-Amir. He served during a period of great political and spiritual crisis for the Fatimid Caliphate, not long after the sudden incursion of the First Crusade. He initiated a number of reforms and revived the ceremonial aspects of the caliphate, both at court and in public. In fact, he also conducted other constructions and renovations inside the Fatimid Great Palaces. He was arrested shortly after completing the mosque in 1125, and was executed 3 years later.He had grown up in poverty following his father’s death and, before being hired by the vizier al-Afdal (his predecessor), he had been working low-status jobs which reportedly included learning building skills. This early experience may have encouraged his later architectural achievements.

The al-Aqmar mosque built at the northeastern corner of the eastern Fatimid Great Palace. It may have served both the neighbourhood and the palace inhabitants. Its adjacency to the palace may have been one reason. Why it did not feature a minaret; in order to prevent anyone climbing the minaret from looking down into the caliph’s palaces. Similarly to Al-Azhar Mosque (970) and the Al-Hakim Mosque (990–1013). Formerly named al-Anwar, the name of the al-Aqmar mosque is an epithet of the patron in connection with light.

Architecture of the mosque

The mosque called a “seminal” monument in the architectural history of Cairo. It is significant for two features in particular: the decoration of its façade and the design of its floor plan.


The mosque of al-Aqmar the first building in Cairo with an adjustment to the street alignment. The plan of the mosque of al-Aqmar is hypostyle, with an internal square courtyard surrounded by roofed sections defined by rows of four-centered arches. The prayer hall on the qibla side is three bays or aisles deep. While the gallery on bay around the courtyard is one bay deep. Each bay is covered by a shallow brick dome. However, this type of roofing not attested in other monuments of the Fatimid architecture. Therefore, it is likely that the mosque originally had a flat ceiling but that when Yalbugha al-Salimi restored it from ruin in the 14th century, given these vaulted ceilings, which resemble the type of ceiling used in the Khanqah of Faraj ibn Barquq, a Mamluk monument from the early 15th century.