The Ministry of Antiquities is about to complete the restoration and development works of four archaeological mosques at a value worth EGP 220m by the end of this year. On top of the projects is Al-Azhar Mosque, the Mosque of Al-Zahir Baybars, and Zaghloul Mosque in Rashid.
Al-Saeed Helmy, head of Islamic antiquities sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the restoration of Al-Azhar Mosque is about to be completed. The development and restoration works are to be done, and the mosque is to be opened within six months.
Helmy added that the mosque will receive worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan, as the outer porch was completely restored.
The Ministry of Antiquities has announced that the cost of the renovation project of Al-Azhar Mosque is worth roughly EGP 30m and comes a financial grant presented by Saudi Arabia for renovating a number of buildings and monuments in Egypt.
The development of Al-Azhar Mosque includes the accurate restoration works, analysis of decorations and stones, archaeological documentation works, and lifting the marble tiles in the mosque’s three schools: Gawhaa, Taybarsiyya, and Aqbughawiyya. Additionally, the restoration will include modifying the mosque’s old bathrooms and moving them to a place where people have easier access to them.
The general location of the mosque will be organised from the outside, and a rain drainage network will be constructed. Furthermore, there will be a new sewage network, and the dilapidated electricity grid will be exchanged with a new one to serve the mosque and the rituals performed in it.
Helmy added that the restoration project of the Mosque of Al-Zahir Baybars in Al Daher district comes within the projects scheduled to be completed and opened by the end of this year.
The necessary funding will be measured to complete the work of the project through a second tranche with a grant from Kazakhstan.
Helmy noted that the value of the second tranche is EGP 60m, and the first was EGP 32m, which has been spent on the previous works of the project.
The restoration project of the Mosque of Al-Zahir Baybars began in 2007 and stopped in 2011 as a result of using pink bricks in making the stents, which does not really match the archaeological nature or style of the mosque. They agreed upon using clay bricks in the restoration works which is the type closest to the original brick of the mosque, and a type already used in the restoration works at Zaghloul Mosque in Rashid.
Waad Allah Abou El-Ela, head of the engineering projects division at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that they resumed the restoration works at the local mosque and Zaghloul mosque in Rashid in collaboration with the Ministry of Religious Endowments.
The archaeological engineering office at Cairo University completed the complementary measurements of the local mosque, which was assigned to Al Mogahed company; Zaghloul Mosque was assigned to the Arab Contractors company—only 10% of the restoration works are remaining.
According to Helmy, the allocated money to the renovation project of Zaghloul Mosque amounted to EGP 32m, provided by the Ministry of Religious Endowments, along with EGP 67m for the cost of renovating the local mosque.
The restoration works at Zaghloul Mosque and the local mosque will be completed by the end of this year after the resumption of the restoration works at the local mosque in October after nearly six years.
The ministry began the restoration of Imam Shafi’i Mosque and its dome in January 2017. This project is scheduled to take five years and part of the funding is provided by the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and the other is a grant from the American Ambassadors Fund.