Most journeys to Egypt begin and end in Cairo, but a mere 3-hour drive from the capital will bring you to Egypt’s second largest city—Alexandria. Here’s how to visit this culturally rich seaside metropolis, at once both ancient and modern that could not feel more different from the nation’s capital.
Ibn Tulun Mosque
Al-Basatin, off Al-Saliba Street, Cairo, Egypt
While it can look a little like a fortress from outside, the Ibn Tulun Mosque is a tranquil space. As you stroll the shady arcades around the open prayer area, it’s easy to see how the pointed arches here influenced European architecture. The best way to appreciate the mosque’s elegant simplicity is to climb the minaret and see it from above. You might need to pay a donation to the caretaker to ascend, though guides on Islamic Cairo tours will arrange this for you.
Medieval Cairo tour Ibn Tulun Mosque, Gayer-Anderson Khan El Khalili
$63.50 per adult
A must-do tour of lesser known sites
Excellent tour to several of the lesser-known sites. The mosque is stunning in its simplicity and has aged well (built in 878). The Gayer-Anderson Museum next door has an amazing collection of art in a 500-year old house. The visit to the old quarter of Cairo features a real, less-touristy feel of the city. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. The car was excellent and the driver was amazing in the crazy traffic. A great time (even for our teens).
MaliaV, Dec 2020
Things to know before you go
- The Ibn Tulun Mosque is a must for anyone with an interest in architecture. It’s a great choice for photographers, too.
- There’s no charge to visit the Ibn Tulun Mosque but donations are appreciated and may be requested.
- As always with mosques, dress modestly (covering shoulders, upper arms, and legs) and remove shoes before entering. Women should also cover their hair.
- Much of the mosque is wheelchair-accessible, although the minaret can only be scaled by winding stairs.
How to get there
The Ibn Tulun Mosque sits in Islamic Cairo, about a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) walk west of the Cairo Citadel and around 2 miles (3 kilometers) southeast of Tahrir Square. It’s about a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) walk from El Sayeda Zeinab metro station (Line 1) but many travelers prefer to beat the heat with a private driver or organized tour.
When to get there
The mosque is usually open from morning to mid-afternoon throughout the week, but it’s reserved for worshippers during Friday prayers, which fall around lunchtime. Visit during the Egyptian working week (Sunday through Thursday) for a more tranquil experience.
Islamic Cairo’s Must-See Mosques
Cairo is sometimes known as “the city of a thousand minarets” and it can be hard to pick which mosques to explore. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is a masterpiece of early Islamic architecture; The Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa—about a 0.5-mile (0.8-kilometer) walk from Ibn Tulun—is a marvellous example of 14th-century building styles. Further on, up in the Cairo Citadel, the 19th-century Alabaster Mosque (formally the Mosque of Muhammad Ali) dominates the city skyline.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Ibn Tulun Mosque?
What else should I know about attractions in Cairo?
- Gayer-Anderson Museum
- Islamic Cairo
- Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa
- Al-Rifai Mosque (Masjid Al-Rifa'i)
- Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)
- Cairo Citadel (Citadel of Saladin)
- Mosque of Sultan Al-Mu'ayyad
- Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery)
- Al-Azhar Mosque
- Tahrir Square
- Mosque of Amr ibn Al-As
- Egyptian Museum (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities)
- Old Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima)
- Church of St. Barbara
- Ben Ezra Synagogue