Amr Ibn Al-As Mosque
Fustat, the “City of Tents”
The mosque was the focal point of Amr’s military camp, which he dubbed “Fustat”, roughly translated as the “City of Tents”. The original site has since undergone serious changes, with fires, earthquakes, and rebuilding projects. Many elements, however, are original, and attest to the wealth and greatness of the Umayyad Caliphate, which span from Morocco, all the way to Anatolia and India.
Commander Amr Ibn Al-As
Amr was a contemporary of the prophet Mohammed and rose quickly in the ranks of the rapidly expanding Islamic empire. Born in Mecca, the young, charismatic Amr took around 4,000 men to Egypt in the year 639, beating back attacks of the Eastern Roman empire, and conquering much of Christian Egypt. After many internal and external conflicts, Amr eventually became governor of Egypt, where he died in 664. His legacy was one of religious tolerance, even bringing back Christian clergy from exile to tend to the remaining Christian communities dispersed throughout the Nile Valley and Delta.
Decline of the Eastern Roman Empire
Historians of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine legacy cite the tragedy of the loss of Egypt, its wealth, and crown jewel, the port-city of Alexandria. However, a closer look of the period and the political and social strife tearing at the empire, it becomes clear that resistance to Arabian invaders had been insignificant for a reason. Exhausted by decades of religious conflict surrounding the correct interpretation of Orthodox Christianity, Egyptians wanted stability, rather than a clarification of religious semantics. Egypt’s Christians saw the struggles of institutionalized religion as responsible for the destruction of Egypt’s social fabric, which often manifested in arson, mob-violence, mob-justice, death and exile.
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