Blue Mosque or Aqsunqur Mosque is an example of early Mamluk religious architecture. Built in 1347 by ”Amir Aqsunqur”, it is located at Tabbana Quarter in Cairo, between Bab Zuweila and Citadel of Salah El-Din.
The mosque include a funerary complex containing the mausoleums of its founder Shams El-Din Aqsunqur, his sons and number of children of the Bahri Mamluk sultan El-Nasir Muhammad. It’s first restoration came in 1652 under the Ottoman by ”Amir Ibrahim Agha Mustafazan” and included refurbishing the sanctuary with the blue ”Iznik”.
The general layout of the mosque consists of a large open courtyard enclosed by four arcades. There are three main entrances with the main portal opening into the western arcade and structure uses Western European style capitals.
Only part of the mosque that continues to employ Aqsunqur’s interior design is the ”qibla” wall which uses cross vaults that rest on octagonal shaped piers. The technique of cross vaults is a reflection of Islamic Syrian architectural influence. ”Mihrab” include the hood’s relief painted carvings, fluctuating lintel panels, marble panels, carved marble registers and mosaic inlay.
The handrail is also built of marble and has a pattern of rolling leaf and grape clusters carved from the stone.
The minaret is situated at the southern corner of the facade looking into Bab El-Wazir Street. It consists of three stories and Its circular shaft is rare among Mamluk minarets before restoration in 20th century.
World Monuments Fund’s long standing collaboration with the ”Aga Khan Trust” for Culture ”AKTC” has resulted in the conservation of several monuments in Cairo’s historic Darb El-Ahmar area where Blue Mosque being the most recent. This project, initiated in 2009, was responsible for conserving the historic interior.