This door of the al-Azhar Mosque is called Bab al-Muzaynin (the Gate of the Barbers) - this main gate was built in 1753 by the Ottomans

This door of the al-Azhar Mosque is called Bab al-Muzaynin (the Gate of the Barbers) - this main gate was built in 1753 by the Ottomans

Close up of the Bab al-Muzaynin - this door has two arches and it is decorated with cypress trees

Close up of the Bab al-Muzaynin - this door has two arches and it is decorated with cypress trees

Al-Azhar Mosque was established in 972 (361H) and first Friday prayer was held here on 22 June - a madrassa was also established beside the mosque which later turner into a university and thus making it the second oldest university in the world

Al-Azhar Mosque was established in 972 (361H) and first Friday prayer was held here on 22 June - a madrassa was also established beside the mosque which later turner into a university and thus making it the second oldest university in the world

View of the al-Azhar Mosque from it's courtyard - in the beginning this mosque was called Jami al-Mansuriya, later it's name was changed to Jami al-Qahira and finally it was named Jami al-Azhar during the reign of Fatimid caliph al-Muizz

View of the al-Azhar Mosque from it's courtyard - in the beginning this mosque was called Jami al-Mansuriya, later it's name was changed to Jami al-Qahira and finally it was named Jami al-Azhar during the reign of Fatimid caliph al-Muizz

Stucco work of a great beauty adornes the inner walls of the courtyard (Sehan) - this mosque was a great  learning centre for those who seek knowledge

Stucco work of a great beauty adornes the inner walls of the courtyard (Sehan) - this mosque was a great learning centre for those who seek knowledge

The Fatimid Caliphate of Cairo worked hard to establish this great mosque and university a learning centre in the Muslim World but after the fall of the Fatmid it was turned into a Sunni mosque

The Fatimid Caliphate of Cairo worked hard to establish this great mosque and university a learning centre in the Muslim World but after the fall of the Fatmid it was turned into a Sunni mosque

Two care-takers are cleaning the white marbled courtyard of the mosque

Two care-takers are cleaning the white marbled courtyard of the mosque

Here, to the left is the Minaret of Qaytbay - it was built in 1483 and thus replacing an old Fatimid brick minaret

Here, to the left is the Minaret of Qaytbay - it was built in 1483 and thus replacing an old Fatimid brick minaret

Upper section of the Minaret of Qaytbay - keel arched panels decorate this minaret and they add to it's beauty

Upper section of the Minaret of Qaytbay - keel arched panels decorate this minaret and they add to it's beauty

A wooden balcony seen from the courtyard of the mosque - this mosque lost it's importance during the rule of Ayyubid dynasty but later Mamluks changed the status of this mosque to Jami once again

A wooden balcony seen from the courtyard of the mosque - this mosque lost it's importance during the rule of Ayyubid dynasty but later Mamluks changed the status of this mosque to Jami once again

Main prayer hall of the al-Azhar Mosque - this mosque was very small in its size but numerous extensions were carried out to enlarge its' size

Main prayer hall of the al-Azhar Mosque - this mosque was very small in its size but numerous extensions were carried out to enlarge its' size

This mosque was also used to deliver the Islamic teachings and sciences of the time in the past

This mosque was also used to deliver the Islamic teachings and sciences of the time in the past

During the Mamluk period, most of the prominent Muslim scholars of the time taught in Al-Azha

During the Mamluk period, most of the prominent Muslim scholars of the time taught in Al-Azha

Supporting columns and lights of the al-Azhar Mosque

Supporting columns and lights of the al-Azhar Mosque

This is the main mehrab of the mosque and it is decorated with the gold patterns of the kufic inscriptions

This is the main mehrab of the mosque and it is decorated with the gold patterns of the kufic inscriptions

A close view of the upper part of the mehrab - though this mehrab has gone through many changes in the past but it still holds the unique features

A close view of the upper part of the mehrab - though this mehrab has gone through many changes in the past but it still holds the unique features

Imam's chair next to the mehrab - it is used for the Friday sermon which is usually the largest of the week

Imam's chair next to the mehrab - it is used for the Friday sermon which is usually the largest of the week

Colourful glass windows of the mosque

Colourful glass windows of the mosque

Wood and marble are the two main components used in the construction and decorative materials of the mosque

Wood and marble are the two main components used in the construction and decorative materials of the mosque

A chandelier hangs from the wooden ceiling of the mosque

A chandelier hangs from the wooden ceiling of the mosque

Patterns on one of the internal walls of the prayer hall

Patterns on one of the internal walls of the prayer hall

Chandeliers were an important source of light and beauty in the mosque - there were also small windows beside this chandelier to allow natural light into the mosque

Chandeliers were an important source of light and beauty in the mosque - there were also small windows beside this chandelier to allow natural light into the mosque

The wooden minbar (pulpit) of the mosque with the mehrab next to it

The wooden minbar (pulpit) of the mosque with the mehrab next to it

Upper section of the wooden minbar with the stained glass windows in the background

Upper section of the wooden minbar with the stained glass windows in the background

A small mehrab with a chair next to it

A small mehrab with a chair next to it

The interior of the prayer hall of al-Azhar Mosque resembles to that of Mosque of Amr Ibn al-As in Fustat (Old Cairo)

The interior of the prayer hall of al-Azhar Mosque resembles to that of Mosque of Amr Ibn al-As in Fustat (Old Cairo)

Wooden ceiling of the mosque with a wooden platform next to it

Wooden ceiling of the mosque with a wooden platform next to it

When the French occupied Egypt in July 1798, initially French were peaceful but later they attacked and bombarded this mosque

When the French occupied Egypt in July 1798, initially French were peaceful but later they attacked and bombarded this mosque

It is believed that the French troops tied their horses inside the mosque and  Napoleon ordered the closing of the mosque

It is believed that the French troops tied their horses inside the mosque and Napoleon ordered the closing of the mosque

Stucco work inside the prayer hall of the mosque

Stucco work inside the prayer hall of the mosque

This mosque is a beautiful example of Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman architecture and they all blend beautifully

This mosque is a beautiful example of Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman architecture and they all blend beautifully

One final look at the minaret and dome of the madrassa - seen from the courtyard of the mosque

One final look at the minaret and dome of the madrassa - seen from the courtyard of the mosque

Islamic calligraphy on a wooden panel is placed carefully inside of an arch

Islamic calligraphy on a wooden panel is placed carefully inside of an arch

These beautilful scallop shell designs I had seen in the Cordoba Mosque in Spain and it also reflects the connection between the two structures

These beautilful scallop shell designs I had seen in the Cordoba Mosque in Spain and it also reflects the connection between the two structures

Decorative details of one of the external walls of al-Azhar Mosque

Decorative details of one of the external walls of al-Azhar Mosque

Though none of the original minarets or the domes have survived but all the additions in the later centuries had added its' own colour and character

Though none of the original minarets or the domes have survived but all the additions in the later centuries had added its' own colour and character

One of the main problem in Cairo is the quality of air because air pollution is very high and it has taken it's toll on some of the monuments

One of the main problem in Cairo is the quality of air because air pollution is very high and it has taken it's toll on some of the monuments

This window and the marble which surrounds it, had lost bright colour mainly due to the pollution

This window and the marble which surrounds it, had lost bright colour mainly due to the pollution