Cairo, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Egypt
+20 (0)2 391 3454 (Tourist Information)
The Aqsunqur Mosque was originally built during the 14th Century, though it has been added to a number of times since then. It was founded by Shams al-Din Aqsunqur, who was heavily embroiled in Mamluk palace politics, and came to the inevitable sticky end – garrotted by his own brother-in-law. The Aqsunqur Mosque contains a leafy open courtyard, and a beautiful prayer hall. The Aqsunqur Mosque is often known as the "Blue Mosque", because of the gorgeous blue, indigo and violet tiles with floral motifs that grace the walls of the prayer hall. They are not original features, but are believed to have been imported from Syria or Turkey and added some time in the 17th Century. The original, circular minaret has been restored, and offers fantastic views of Islamic Cairo and the Citadel. However, the Aqsunqur Mosque is undergoing restoration work, and is closed to visitors. It's hoped it will re-open towards the end of 2009.