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Spiral Minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque

Spiral minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque.

The Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Ţūlūn (Arabic: مسجد أحمد بن طولون‎) is located in Cairo, Egypt. It is arguably the oldest mosque in the city surviving in its original form, and is the largest mosque in Cairo in terms of land area. The mosque was commissioned by Ahmad ibn Ţūlūn, the Abbassid governor of Egypt from 868–884 whose rule was characterized by de facto independence. The historian al-Maqrizi lists the mosque’s construction start date as 876 AD, and the mosque’s original inscription slab identifies the date of completion as 265 AH, or 879 AD.

There is significant controversy over the date of construction of the minaret, which features a helical outer staircase similar to that of the famous minaret in Samarra. It is also told that using these stairs one can climbs up on the horse. Legend has it that ibn Ţūlūn himself was accidentally responsible for the design of the structure: supposedly while sitting with his officials, he absentmindedly wound a piece of parchment around his finger. When someone asked him what he was doing, he responded, embarrassed, that he was designing his minaret. Many of the architectural features, however, point to a later construction, in particular the way in which the minaret does not connect well with the main mosque structure, something that would have been averted had the minaret and mosque been built at the same time. Architectural historian Doris Behrens-Abouseifasserts that Sultan Lajīn, who restored the mosque in 1296, was responsible for the construction of the current minaret.

(Text source: Wikipedia)

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