THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
THE EVOLUTION OF MUSLIM ARCHITECTURE IN EGYPT
1.THE ORTHODOX KHALIFS PERIOD down to the beginning of the Tulunid period, 20-254 H. (640-868 A.D.): Age has had its effect on the monuments of this period in Egypt, Fustat, the first Arab city in Egypt, being in ruins. The same destruction befell al-'Askar, founded by the 'Abbasids, in 133 H. (750), and although the Mosque of 'Amr ibn al-'As has undergone great alterations and enlargements until it has lost its original shape, leaving only the site on which it was built, yet we know that two architectural innovations of great importance appeared in it; the first being the four sawami (towers), built at the corners of the mosque in 53 H. (672/73) by Maslama ibn Mukhallad, Governor of Egypt, by order of Mu'awiya, the first Umayyad Khalif. These sawami were copied from the towers which once stood at the corners of the old temple enclosure (temenos) at Damascus, and they formed a model for the minarets that were built later on in Egypt, many of which still exist, in a great variety of beautiful shapes. The other feature is the hollow mihrab, built in the mosque by Qurra ibn Sharik Governor of Egypt, during the reign of al-Walid ibn 'Abd al-Malik, in 93 H. (712), which was copied from that made by 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz in the Mosque of Madina in 88 H. (706/7).