Al-Aqmar Mosque

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Al-Aqmar Mosque

Jennifer Pruitt


Cairo’s al-Aqmar mosque was founded in 1125 during the reign of the Fatimids. This presentation explores the mosque’s architectural features, façade ornamentation, and Isma‘ili Shi‘i symbolism. Its engagement with already existing structures and streets also highlights a major turning point in the city’s built environment, heralding a new trajectory for urban planning in the medieval period.


Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. “The Façade of the Aqmar Mosque in the Context of Fatimid Ceremonial.” Muqarnas 9 (1992): 29–38.

Bierman, Irene. Writing Signs: The Fatimid Public Text. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Bloom, Jonathan. Arts of the City Victorious: Islamic Art and Architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

Pruitt, Jennifer. Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020.

Williams, Caroline. “The Cult of the ‘Alid Saints in the Fatimid Monuments of Cairo. Part I: The Mosque of al-Aqmar.” Muqarnas 1 (1983): 37–52.


Jennifer Pruitt, “The Al-Aqmar Mosque,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 28 August 2020.

Jennifer Pruitt is the Howard and Ellen Louise Schwartz associate professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her first book, Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture (Yale University Press, 2020) investigates the early architecture of the Fatimids, an Ismaili Shi‘i Muslim dynasty that dominated the Mediterranean world from the 10th to the 12th centuries. She is currently writing a second book, Inheriting an Islamic Golden Age: Globalism, National Identity, and Invented Histories in the Architecture of the Arabian Gulf, which investigates the integration of classical forms of Islamic art in the contemporary architecture of the Arabian Gulf.