Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly toured today, Monday, the site of the development of the Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque Square.
The tour came within the frame of implementing of the Fustat Park project.
The Premier was accompanied by Dr. Khaled El-Anany, Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development, Dr. Assem El-Jazzar, Minister Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, Maj. Gen.Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of Cairo, Major. Gen. Mahmoud Nassar, Head of the Central Agency for Reconstruction, and Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Dr. Osama Talaat, Head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Sector, under the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, explained that the city of Fustat is the first and oldest Islamic capital of Egypt.
It was built after the Arab- Islamic conquest of Egypt in the year 20 AH (641 AD).
To find the new capital, Amr ibn al-Aas, leader of the Muslims and one of Prophet Mohamed’s companion, chose this site, which was devoid and waste except for a Roman fort known as Babylon Fortress.
The new capital was called “Al Fustat”, meaning the tent, and it is currently known as Misr Al Qadeemah (the “Old Cairo Quarter) which is one of the honored-time quarters in modern Cairo.
The area houses a number of archaeological sites such as Amr Mosque, which was the first mosque in Egypt.
It also houses a number of churches, among them the ” Hanging Church” and Abu Sarga Church, which was built over the cave in which the Holy Family took shelter during their journey in Egypt, as well as the Ben Ezra Synagogue.
Excavations of the ruins of the city of Fustat, the Nilometer on Rawda Island, Manasterly Pasha Palace, and the Muhammad Ali Palace in Manial.
Fustat city planning:
Historical sources indicate that the first thing that was built in the city was the mosque of Amr ibn al-Aas. It was the first building planned in the city, followed by the establishment of the Emirate House which was built for the residence of rulers since the early Islamic era, then houses were built around it.
Fustat rapidly took the appearance of the city with its grand mosque, marketplaces that surrounded the mosque, and the role of housing.
Many lanes, alleys and paths spring of the hub of the city which are a manifestation of urban expansion and economic prosperity.
Toward the end of the Fatimid era, the city was exposed to a huge arson that led to the burning of the eastern half of the city.
Over time, this eastern half turned into mounds and remained like this until 1912 AD, when the first archaeological excavations began there.
History of archaeological excavations in the city:
Excavations between the years 1912 – 1920
Archaeological and scientific excavations began in the site of the city of Fustat during the twentieth century by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority at the time, which was carried out by the Egyptian archaeologist Ali Bey Bahgat and the French engineer Albert Gabriel. They carried out organized excavations that resulted in the discovery of some houses and facilities in the city of Fustat dating back to successive periods starting from the Tulunid era until the Fatimid period, i.e. from the 9th century to the 12th century AD.
The houses are known as “Fustat Houses.” They were built of bricks, and consisted of an open courtyard, a main hall, and a group of chambers, in addition to a garden.
The height of these houses reached four floors and the remains of them still exist until now, but the height of their remains ranges between 50 cm and 2.50 meters, and most of them still preserve the means of water supply and drainage until now.
The artifacts that were discovered during the excavations were on show in the Museum of Islamic Art, downtown Cairo. They include papyri, fabrics, coins, ceramics, and others.
– Excavations in 1932 AD, led by archaeologist Hassan al-Hawari.
Hassan Al-Hawari, an Egyptian archaeologist, completed the excavations started by Ali Bey Bahjat, where he discovered the remains of the Tulunid Palace; it dates back to the third century AH when Ahmed bin Tulun assumed the mandate of Egypt and became an independent Emir from the Abbasid Caliphate in Iraq, as well as the remains of the Fatimid bathrooms.
Then the excavations rolled in the city; they included: Dr. Gamal Muhrez in 1964 AD, then the excavations of the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University headed by Dr. Souad Mohamed Maher between 1973-1975 in the area of the Awliya (Muslim saints) Mosque, and the excavations of the Egyptian-American mission behind Abu Al-Saud Mosque at the hands of the two professors George Escanlon and Kobiak, and the excavations of the French Institute in the area of Stable Antar, in addition to the excavations of the joint mission between the Japanese Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Fustat Antiquities Directorate and the American Research Center in the Al-Fawakhir (pottery workshops) area behind Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque.
Translated by Ahmed Moamar