Monday, August 24, 2020

POTD: City of a Thousand Minarets

From 2019 11 18 Old Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Nowhere in the Muslim world can you find such a profusion of domes and minarets as in Cairo. Rising from the haze of crowded, crumbling streets in the old, chaotic, yet picturesque medieval parts of the city, they dominate the city's skyline. Minarets, indeed, are Cairo's joy and ornament and the source of Cairenes' favorite nickname: "Madeenet el alf Midhana," "the city of a thousand minarets."
Among Cairo's "thousand" minarets, Ibn Tulun's mud-brick, ninth-century mosque is said to be one of the simplest, yet one of the most beautiful. Devoid of any surface decoration, it is modeled on the minaret of the great mosque of Samarra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) where Ibn Tulun was born, and features an outer spiral staircase instead of the usual inner one. The idea apparently came from the spiral staircase of a Babylonian ziggurat thought to be the Tower of Babel.
Source: John Feeney.

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