Designed in the Fatimid style, the Al Hakim Mosque was originally built outside Cairo prior to being incorporated into the city’s walls in 1087. It was then used as a prison, stables, a school, and a fortress before restoration in the 1980s saw it converted back into a working mosque. The top attractions are its courtyard, minarets—Cairo’s oldest—and gateway, an echo of ancient Egyptian temple pylons.
There are two main ways to experience the Al Hakim Mosque: to visit independently or book a private tour that features the mosque as part of a roundup of old Cairo or all Cairo. First-time visitors, for instance, might choose a full-day tour that covers the pyramids, Egyptian Museum, and even outlying Saqqara before delving into Islamic Cairo’s mosques, gates, and El-Moez Street, the home of the Al Hakim Mosque. Visitors changing flights at Cairo airport, meanwhile, can see the mosque on a private layover tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Al Hakim Mosque will interest travelers who want to learn about Cairo’s early history and culture.
Visitors must wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. It’s also advisable for women to wear headscarves.
Be ready to remove your shoes before entering the mosque.
The courtyard is partially accessible to wheelchair users, but other areas are not.
How to Get There
The mosque stands at the junction of El-Moez and Sour Masr Al Kadimaa streets near Cairo’s 11th-century Bab Al-Futuh gateway. The easiest way to reach the mosque is by cab or on a tour, as parking and navigation can be difficult. The closest metro station is Bab El-Shaaria, about a 12-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The Al Hakim Mosque is open 9am–5pm daily, but it’s advisable not to visit on Fridays, when it’s crammed with worshippers. If you’re visiting independently, it’s also best to avoid the day’s prayer times, at around midday and 3pm.
What to See at the Al Hakim Mosque
It’s worth inspecting the Al Hakim Mosque’s floors: Some stones bear the remnants of pharaonic-era drawings, proving they were reused from older monuments. Also, be sure to climb the interior stairs to the ramparts. You can walk along them to enjoy sweeping views over Cairo’s Bab Al-Nasr cemetery and admire the mosque’s minarets up close.
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