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Egypt Reopens Historic 13th Century Mosque Post Years of Restoration

Egypt has reopened a 13th-century mosque after long period of restoration. The mosque had fallen into disrepair. It went through, over the years, used as a soap factory, a slaughterhouse and even a fort. The mosque is situated in capital Cairo.

The mosque of Al-Zhahir Baybars was built under Mamluk rule in 1268. It spans an area of three acres just north of Cairo. This makes it Egypt’s third-largest mosque.

The mosque underwent mechanical and chemical restoration to bring it back to its original condition, said Tarek Mohamed El-Behairy, who supervised the restoration.

“Some parts were destroyed, some parts have been dismantled because they were structurally unsuitable to remain in the mosque,” he said. He was quoted by Reuters.

“But we were very keen, even in the reconstruction process, to work according to the correct archaeological style.”

Co-funded by Kazakhstan

The restoration cost USD 7.68 million. It was co-funded by Kazakhstan. The agreement for the restoration work was struck in 2007.

The mosque was either closed or was used for non-religious purposes. This led to its disrepair. 

During Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt it was used as a military fort, then under Ottoman rule in the 19th century as a soap factory. Later, when the British invaded Egypt in 1882, it was used as a slaughterhouse.

Al-Zahir Baybars was a prominent figure in Egypt’s history credited with cementing Mamluk rule in Egypt which spanned three centuries up to 1517.

A ceremony was held in Kazakhstan to mark the opening of the mosque and to celebrate the country’s role in restoration. The Astana Times reported that 

Kazakhstan’s Senate Chairperson Maulen Ashimbayev, Minister of Culture and Sports Askhat Oralov were present for the ceremony among others.

“Relations between the Kazakh and Egyptian peoples have deep historical roots dating back to the time of the Mamluks. Sultan Beibars paid special attention to constructing mosques and madrasahs and developing science and education,” said Ashimbayev. He was quoted by The Astana Times news outlet.

“Today is a very important day for Kazakhstan and Egypt. We not only rediscover one of Cairo’s landmarks, but also strengthen the cultural and spiritual bond between the two nations. Sultan Beibars is an important figure in the history of our countries, that is why I would like to thank the Egyptian side for cooperation in preserving the cultural heritage important for all of us,” said Oralov. He was quoted by The Astana Times.

Source : Wion

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