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Aqmar Mosque (Al)
Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah Street
+20 (0)2 285 4509 (Tourist Information)
Built during the 12th Century, al-Aqmar Mosque was the first Cairo mosque to have a decorated façade. The façade of al-Aqmar Mosque is beautiful, delicate and very finely detailed: a series of arches and niches are carved in to the stone, and look almost like sea-shells. By contrast, the simple minaret looks old, careworn and plain, and looks rather like a rolling pin. The interior of al-Aqmar Mosque is also quite plain: simple marble columns with Corinthian heads, pale yellow walls in the prayer room, and a neat, slate grey mihrab. Most of al-Aqmar Mosque is constructed from a pale grey stone, much of which is finely carved with Arabic calligraphy. This explains the mosque's name: al-Aqmar means "the moonlit", and the stones are said to take on a beautiful shimmering hue at night.