Were the fears of public opinion and some fans and visitors of the famous Al-Hussein Mosque true in Cairo that it would undermine its traditional and historical image, after revealing pictures of restoration work in the mosque’s dome and minaret, as some say that it may threaten their exclusion from the register of ancient mosques?

Controversial pictures spread on social networking sites of the restoration of the historic mosque, as the use of paints appeared to paint the dome of the mosque and the adjacent minaret, obliterating some of its windows, as well as passing a ventilation network for cooling devices.

This comes about a week after the public was allowed to pray in the Al-Hussein Mosque, following widespread criticism of the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments’ announcement of the sudden closure of the mosque, even throughout the month of Ramadan, in the middle of last month, under the pretext of carrying out engineering repairs to the mosque, before reversing its decision and reopening it. The beginning of the holy month.

In a statement attached to a picture of the dome and minaret, posted on the Egyptian Engineers Syndicate’s Facebook page, the Captain of Engineers Tariq Al-Nabawy assigned the Architectural Division of the General Syndicate of Engineers headed by Dr. Walaa Nour to review the restoration work that took place in the Al-Hussein Mosque during the last period.

Al-Nabrawi affirmed, "A committee will be formed from the Architectural Division, comprising an elite of experts in a number of engineering disciplines, after the engineering public opinion made some observations regarding the ongoing restoration work in the mosque."

The Captain of Engineers added that the committee's mission will be to study the incident in a scientific manner, to find out the technical aspects of the restoration work, in preparation for issuing a comprehensive report and submitting it to the concerned authorities.

At the end of last year, the Cairo Governorate and the Ministry of Awqaf signed a protocol with the "Masjid Development Corporation" to develop the Al-Hussein Mosque, at an amount of 150 million pounds (about 10 million dollars at the time), including all parts of the mosque, in addition to modernizing all electricity, water, sewage, cooling and surveillance systems with cameras. Alarm and firefighting systems, and providing the mosque internally and externally with the latest sound systems, under the supervision of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces.

Develop or distort?

According to local newspapers, the plan to develop the Al-Hussein Mosque includes restoring the dilapidated parts of the mosque, both internally and externally, while working to expand its courtyard, as well as expanding the interior spaces of the mosque’s chapel to accommodate about 7.5 thousand worshipers, without prejudice to the decorative appearance of the mosque, or neglecting the historical element in it. .

Since the first moments of criticism of the maintenance and restoration work, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Awqaf, Abdullah Hassan, responded by saying that it "is being carried out at the highest level of accuracy and priority, and in the hands of the best engineers specializing in such works."

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the “Mosques” Foundation Niazi Salam says that the Foundation seeks to make the Imam Hussein Mosque “the Egyptian Sanctuary”, as he described it, adding that the project is the first work of the Foundation, which aims through it to develop, raise efficiency and preserve the mosques of Ahl al-Bayt in Egypt that will be built. Work on them successively.

In the context of his comment on the endowments’ response, urban planning consultant Saeed Hassanein described what is happening in Al-Hussein Mosque as “a justified distortion in the context of development,” adding - on his Facebook page - that “after what the endowment media said that they hired the best engineers (meaning engineers, but Ironically) in the restoration of the Al-Hussein Mosque, may God be pleased with him, I immediately remembered the dome of Cairo University, which was done by (Mahnatherin) as well...", and he concluded his comment with the famous sentence "You have come (to you) shit... you have filled (filled) the country."

Antiquities restoration crises

The images of the minaret and the dome, which were covered with paint, reminded some of the series of distortion and demolition of many buildings, gardens, and archaeological and historical trees;

Sometimes on the pretext of maintenance and restoration, and at other times on the pretext of widening roads and extending bridges for the benefit of the public interest, or their non-history, which sparked anger and widespread criticism on the communication sites that are still ongoing.

In August 2021, the concerned authorities demolished the historic "Andraos Palace" in Luxor Governorate (southern Egypt), which sparked a great uproar and criticism among those interested in antiquities and heritage, mourning the fate of the palace, which was a witness to important events in the history of Egypt and the historic governorate of Luxor.

The history of Tawfiq Pasha Andraos Palace dates back to more than 120 years. It was founded in 1897, behind the Luxor Temple, and on the front of the Nile Corniche. It became one of the historical palaces after witnessing many important and historical political events during the 1919 revolution, and it was called the "House of the Nation in Luxor".

One of the photos of the restoration disasters - according to an investigation by 360 news website - what was revealed about the failure of the restoration department to repair the pyramid of Djoser;

One of the most important and oldest pyramids in Egypt.

According to a UNESCO report, there are errors in the restoration of the pyramid in the external aspects, as well as some technical irregularities, such as the use of limestone.

The report quoted Mohamed Abdel-Hadi, professor of antiquities restoration at Cairo University, as saying, "A large part of the restoration of antiquities in Egypt lacks the scientific foundations and controls that must be met by antiquities restorers, which in some cases may amount to erasing the archaeological character of temples, statues, or others."

The report added that restoring the chin of King Tutankhamun's mask after it was broken was a form of restoration that violated the sanctity of the antiquity.

The archaeological chin was glued with epoxy, and when the restoration department tried to treat the distortion, it used a “scalpel” that caused new scratches in the artifact.

In 2016, the pioneers of social networking sites shared pictures of maintenance, replacement and renewal work in the dome of Cairo University;

One of the oldest Egyptian universities, where several news websites monitored what they said was a distortion of the dome by besieging it with giant air-conditioning pipes that blocked the windows of the dome and distorted its external appearance.


In pictures.. Deformation of the historical dome of Cairo University with central air conditioning lines


— photo7 (@photoyoum7) September 2, 2016

wide reactions

Pictures of some of the restoration work of the Imam Hussein Mosque, related to the minaret and dome, spread widely on social media, which aroused the discontent of many tweeters and specialists in the field of engineering, architecture, antiquities and art.

Some of them considered that what happened amounted to deliberate distortion and a great failure against historical and Islamic antiquities, despite the huge spending and great publicity.

Tweeters wondered why the mosque's outer garden had been removed.

Al- Hussein Mosque is distorted

- What is this ugliness that affected the Al-Hussein Mosque

? Does the Antiquities Authority have an opinion on the restoration of this ancient mosque? We have come to

hate the word development

that officials in Egypt say -

Stop distorting the landmarks of Cairo that we love

— Somaya Saad (@someasaaad) April 8, 2022

You enter engineering and archeology, read and learn to restore monuments, and how to simulate the language of construction using suitable materials for finishing, professors who teach scientific codes for generations at the university, and in the end come to a contractor with an uncle who will transform you with the ability of a capable “Hussein Mosque, which he said is 860 years old, to a corner in Mashhour.”

Exposed Ducts and a splash-like finish!

— Amr Wadea (@AmrWadea) April 7, 2022

Two words

: I work with the Arab contractors, Omar Grocery, and it is impossible for me to imagine that this nonsense comes from them..

My only logical explanation is that when the closure of the Al-Hussein Mosque was announced in Ramadan, people came to them with orders that they act and operate the mosque in Ramadan and after that they complete the right work.. My mind I will not understand another novel

— 💭 (@Ronnaa56) April 7, 2022

Science is in distress.

— Mina Habib (@MenaAziz) April 7, 2022

The Sufi orders came out with any data on the architectural disgust that occurs in the mosque of our master al-Husayn, or not?

— Control (@MarwanAbdLMoula) April 7, 2022

A rich history

Al-Hussein Mosque is located in the heart of historic Cairo. It was built during the Fatimid era in 549 AH / 1154 AD. It contains many important holdings, such as the oldest copy of the Holy Qur’an. The mosque includes 3 doors built of white marble overlooking Khan al-Khalili Street - the most popular street frequented by tourists In Cairo - in addition to another door next to the dome, known as the Green Gate.

It was rebuilt during the days of Abbas I, then Khedive Ismail at the end of the 19th century, and no traces of the Fatimid era remain except the Green Gate, and its minaret is from the Ayyubid era.

In 1861, the engineer "Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda" built the dome and the upper part of the minaret of the Green Gate, and its area was increased by more than half, and a two-story building was added to it, as well as a bathroom independent of the mosque.

According to the Egyptian media, the Fatimid minaret and the green door next to the dome are the only parts registered as an antiquity of the mosque, while the rest of the mosque is not registered among the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish antiquities at the Ministry of Tourism, due to the multiplicity of interventions, maintenance, development and additions in previous eras.

The Al-Azhar area is located within the Al-Hussein neighborhood in Fatimid Cairo, and there are many ancient Islamic monuments in the area, especially from the Fatimid era, including Al-Hussein Mosque, Al-Azhar Mosque, Al-Muizz Street and other Islamic monuments such as ancient mosques, sanctuaries, fountains, schools, and places of craftsmen such as: blacksmiths Carpenters, coppersmiths, embroiderers, and others.