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Restoration and Reconstruction of Al-Zaher Baybars Mosque - Egypt

Monuments Restoration   ::  Completed Projects   ::  2023  ::  

Client: Ministry of Antiquities
Description: Archeological buildings

Al-Zahir Baybars Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Egypt, established in 665 AH.

The mosque is named after its founder, Sultan al-Zahir Baybars al-Bunduqdari, who was the actual founder of Bahri Mamluk State and the fourth Mamluk Sultan.
Al-Zahir Baibars Mosque is located in Al Zahir district in Cairo. It is considered one of the most outstanding and remarkable mosques in Cairo, belonging to Bahri Mamluk era, as it contains a wide-open courtyard surrounded by four iwans, and its mihrab (prayer niche) is surmounted by a dome.
The mosque is 106 meters long and 103 meters wide, surrounded by a wall, and has 4 doors.
The mosque is unique in its Islamic character, in which the Mamluk architecture is reflected in its elegant decorations, shining colors, and the marble formation covering the walls of the mosque with glaring precision.
Over the years, the mosque has been subjected to many types of neglect and vandalism. During the French campaign against Egypt, the mosque turned into a castle and military barracks and later turned into a camp and bakery in Muhammad Ali's era, then a soap factory, and in 1882, the British occupation army took it as a bakery and then a slaughterhouse.
The mosque was left in a dilapidated state; its parts were destroyed, and its features were obliterated until the Committee for the Preservation of Arab Antiquities undertook the mosque in 1918 and repaired and restored some of its parts, but its features remained obliterated, and the prominent Mamluk architecture was no longer visible. The mosque's courtyard was filled with dense weeds due to the groundwater, in addition to the presence of dirt and cement mortar on the interior stone walls, and the loss and erosion of Quranic verses and decorations in the stucco windows. There were also inclinations, cracks, and missing brick supports.

After that, the architectural restoration step began, which included breaking the new concrete foundations, excavation and replacement works, injecting the walls and the dome, constructing a groundwater monitoring network, cleaning and disinfecting the cistern, supplying, and installing marble columns, cleaning the external trench of the mosque, and installing marble floors, in addition to the external trench rain drainage, electrical, and other insulation works.
The ingenuity of the Arab Contractors Company was demonstrated in the decorative character of Mamluk civilization with artistic precision. It included Astor paints for wooden ceilings in addition to injection and the fixation of the weak parts of the Qur’anic inscription band, completing it with the qibla iwan and the stucco lantern, restoring the foundation inscription in the three entrances and the dome, and restoring and completing the external archaeological windows.
As a result of the efforts of the Arab Contractors to restore precisely all aspects of the mosque, al-Zahir Baybars Mosque is now a testament befitting its grandeur since its construction 800 years ago.

Monuments Restoration