PM Modi’s two-day Egypt tour begins today, to visit centuries-old Al-Hakim Mosque
PM Modi’s visit to Egypt: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Egypt from June 24 to 25 in the second leg of his two-nation tour. This visit is at the invitation of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, for which he congratulated the Prime Minister. January 2023 when he joined our Republic Day celebrations as ‘Chief Guest’. This will be the Prime Minister’s first visit to Egypt.
Apart from his talks with President Sisi, the Prime Minister is likely to interact with senior Egyptian government dignitaries, some prominent Egyptian personalities as well as the Indian community in Egypt, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
India-Egypt relations are based on ancient trade and economic ties, as well as cultural and deep-rooted people-to-people ties. During President Sisi’s state visit in January 2023, it was agreed to elevate the relationship to a ‘strategic partnership’.
Prime Minister Modi will visit the historic Al-Hakim Masjid
During the two-day visit, PM Modi will visit the historic Al-Hakim Mosque built during the Fatimid dynasty in Cairo on June 24. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the mosque is scheduled as the first program on the last day of his two-day program. In Cairo, the vast capital of Egypt. The Prime Minister will spend about half an hour at the Al-Hakim Mosque.
About Al-Hakim Mosque
The monument is a historic and prominent mosque in Cairo named after al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985–1021), the 16th Fatimid Caliph. The mosque was originally built by al-Hakim b-Amr Allah’s father, Caliph al-Aziz Billah, in the late 10th century, in the year 990, and was later completed by al-Hakim in the year 1013.
The mosque is also known as al-Anwar, meaning “the light”, similar in style to the name of the al-Azhar mosque founded by the Fatimids. It is the second largest mosque in the city of Cairo and the fourth oldest mosque. The mosque is located in the heart of Islamic Cairo, on the east side of al-Muizz Street, just south of Bab al-Futuh (one of the northern city gates of Fatimid Cairo).
Al-Hakim Mosque is an example of Fatimid architecture
Al-Hakim Mosque is an important example of Fatimid architecture and history in Cairo. The rectangular mosque covers an area of 13,560-square meters of which 5000 square meters is the large central courtyard or Sahan. The remaining space is divided into four covered halls, one on each side of the mosque. The Bait Al Salat, or Sanctuary Area and Prayer Hall, is the largest of these, measuring 4,000 square meters and having five bays.
The mosque has two separate minarets on the north and west corners. Al-Hakim himself modified these minarets in 1010 by enclosing them in a square main form. They are the oldest still standing minarets in the city. The mosque has the distinction of being the oldest mosque in the world, with two minarets built simultaneously when it was first built.
The mosque has eleven gates, the most important of which is the central one on the main facade, made of stone. The gate is topped by a prominent portico with carved niches and squares, similar to the Mahdiyya Mosque in Tunisia. The courtyard and prayer hall of the mosque also have pointed arches supported by rectangular columns, reminiscent of the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.
Important cultural place for Dawoodi Bohra community
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Mosque is an important cultural site for the Dawoodi Bohra community in Cairo. The latest renovation project was the second such initiative undertaken by the Dawoodi Bohra community after the first renovation and restoration project completed nearly forty years ago.
The renovations were carried out as part of a large-scale plan by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to boost tourism to Cairo’s Islamic sites. The Dawoodi Bohra community supported this work.
Work on the mosque began in 2017 and included repairs to water damage and cracks in the walls. The wooden fixtures, including the decorative wooden tiles lining the mosque’s doors, its pulpit and the base of its roofs, were reinforced.
The ornate flags of the mosque, one of Cairo’s most prominent Fatimid sites, were also restored. More efficient electrical wiring was also installed, along with security cameras to serve both the interior areas and the large courtyard for which the mosque is known. Intricate renovations were also done on the facade and marble floors of the mosque.
The nearly 1,000-year-old Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Mosque in the center of Egypt’s capital, Cairo, was reopened on February 27 this year after extensive renovations that took six years to complete.
(with ANI inputs)
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