The story of Ahmad Ibn Tulun requires us to dwell on it for a moment to understand the importance of the mosque that bears his name:

Ibn Tulun was a Turkish slave who managed to escape from his condition and who, despite his humble origins, was able to make a place for himself in power and, little by little, rise to create his own dynasty: the Tulunid or Tulunid. In her name, he formed an army to take up arms in 868 and found the new city of al-Qata’i, ruled by a Muslim dynasty with Turkish roots. To commemorate his victory, he ordered the construction of a mosque that would bear his name. The temple managed to be completed, but Ibn Tulun was dethroned in 884, after having ruled Egypt for 16 years to leave an abra of Islamic art in the Ancient Cairo.


The Ibn Tulun Mosque is surrounded by a huge external courtyard that serves to separate the temple from the noise of the city. Inside, there is another square courtyard 90 meters long, surrounded by porticoes located around a large central fountain.

This site became world famous because it is one of the locations where “The Spy Who Loved Me”, one of the films of the James Bond saga, starring Roger Moore, was filmed.

Architectural details of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun

  • The courtyard. The architectural layout of the mosque respects the traditional aljama plan of the area, which includes a square central courtyard and all surrounded by arcades. In the center is a fountain covered by a dome, also called the ablutions fountain, an innovation introduced by the Mamluk Sultan Husam al-Din Layin and replicated in many later mosques. The courtyard is surrounded by four porticoes.
  • Walls. Large walls surround the north, west and south sides of the mosque and between these and the walls of the building there is an open area called ziyada which was inspired by the great mosque of Samarra in Iraq, built between 237 and 850 and by the great mosque of Susa in Tunisia, built in 236 and 851. The walls have 19 rectangular doors and the most ornamental is the one on the eastern side, with mihrabs from the Tulunid, Fatimid and Mamluk periods. In the upper section of the walls there are 128 windows with openwork stucco arches, geometric motifs and intertwined vegetal ornaments, which are the great peculiarity of this building since they are all different, both in decoration and form.
  • The ship. The arches of the nave are supported by red brick pillars and small columns at the corners. Both the thread and the intrados of the arches are decorated with stucco decorations and lines intertwined with various plant silhouettes, another of the most striking elements of this mosque.
  • The minaret. The influence of the great mosque of Samarra is also evident in the minaret of the Ibn Tulun Mosque. The particularity is that the spiral staircase rises on the outside of the minaret and not on the inside, as in most mosques.

Rules for entering the mosque

  • Cover your shoulders, legs and knees, so avoid wearing skirts or shorts and tank tops.
  • You cannot enter with alcoholic beverages of any kind, as they are forbidden by the Muslim creed and may be taken as an offense to the temple.
  • You must remove your shoes when you enter. If you wear sneakers or shoes, try to wear socks. And if you wear flip-flops or sandals, have some ready in your bag to enter the mosque.

How to get to the Ibn Tulun Mosque

If you hire a guided tour service, it is quite likely to include the transfer to and from your hotel. In case not, the best way to get to the Ibn Tulun Mosque is by cab or private car, in both cases book them from your hotel and with the price agreed in advance. It is also 800 meters from the Sultan Hassan MosqueAl Rifa’i Mosque and Alabaster Mosque.

Ibn Tulun Mosque Opening Hours

Open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Visit prices

If you go on your own, the entrance fee for adults is 60 EGP and 30 EGP for students. If you want to climb to the top of the minaret, which we recommend you do because it has great views, you must pay an extra that is not stipulated but you can bargain, depending on what you offer or what they ask. A good price is between 80 EGP and 100 EGP.

Photos of the Ibn Tulun Mosque

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