It is one of the most famous mosques in Cairo. It has been a mosque and university for more than a thousand years. It is the first mosque established in the city of Cairo, and it is considered the oldest existing Fatimid monument in Egypt. It is the "Al-Azhar Mosque", which is located in Al-Azhar Square, on an area of 11,500 square meters.
It was built during two years "970 AD - 972 AD" by Jawhar al-Siqilli by order of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah. It was initially established for the purpose of spreading the Shiite sect, but it is currently teaching according to the Sunni sect. It is likely that it was named Al-Azhar, according to the name of "Fatima Al-Zahra", the daughter of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace.
Throughout the various ages and times, the Al-Azhar Mosque witnessed events and several changes and renewals took place. In the Fatimid era, the Caliph Al-Hafiz Li-Din Allah added to the courtyard of the mosque a portico revolving around it on all four sides, and made in the middle of the portico adjacent to the qibla portico an entrance to the metaphor, topped by a dome decorated with one of the most beautiful examples of kufic writing. We find that in the Ayyubid era, the mosque did not receive enough attention, as Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi was a rejection of the Shiite sect, and he wanted to replace it with the Sunni sect. And for the Mamluk era, the matter was different. It was the golden age of the mosque, as many expansions and renovations were built in it, and it received wide attention and respect. Among these renewals, three schools were added to the mosque, namely: the Al-Taybariyya School, the Aghagawi School, and the Jawhariyya School. While in the Ottoman era, Prince Abdul Rahman Katkhuda increased the area of the mosque, and added some changes to it, and we find that the Al-Azhar Mosque in this era became a center for the largest gathering of Egyptian scholars, and scholars began teaching some sciences of philosophy and logic for the first time. We find that during the era of Muhammad Ali, Al-Azhar regained its position after it had been humiliated during the French campaign against Egypt. In the 19th century, the mosque witnessed several repairs and renovations, the most important of them was during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmy II, who established the Al-Azhar Library inside the Aegagaya school. In 1961, the establishment of Al-Azhar University was officially announced, as well as the establishment of many different colleges.