Al-Fustat (Old Cairo)

Al-Fustat (Old Cairo)


After the Arab conquest in 21 AH/641 AD, Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab wanted a new capital for Egypt, refusing Alexandria, the former capital city during the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. Fustat was founded by general ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, making it  Egypt’s first Islamic capital.

The city’s name is derived from the Arabic word for “tent”, named after the camp set up by the army of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As in the future location of the new capital. Al-Fustat’s very first building was the mosque of Amr ibn al-‘As, which is also known as al-‘Atiq "the Old Mosque.”

Today, al-Fustat is a part of the Old Cairo District. It is one of the most deep-rooted places in Cairo, as it contains many archaeological sites, such as the Synagogue of Ben E'zra, more than seven old churches, the Mosque of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, the excavated remains of the old city of al-Fustat, the Nilometer on al-Roda island, the palace of al-Manesterley, and Mohammad Ali Palace in al-Manyal.