El Mursi Abu Al Abbas Mosque

Abu Al-Abbas Al-Mursi is Alexandria’s largest mosque; it was built primarily in 1775 to commemorate the life of the thirteenth century Andalusian Sheikh Ahmed Al Abbas Al Mursi who was buried on the site, located in the Anfoushi neighborhood of Alexandria, near the Citadel of Qaitbay. The Mosque was redesigned and built in today’s current form by Eugenio Valzania and Mario Rossi in the years 1929 to 1945.

 

Abu Al-Abbas Al-Mursi was born to a wealthy family in the Andalusia region of Spain in 1219. He left Spain and moved to Tunisia with his family in 640 H (1242 AD) in the face of increasing Christian control over Spain. In Tunisia, Abu Al Abbas Al Mursi heard about El Sheikh Abu El Hassan El Shazly and he accompanied him in his journey to Alexandria.

 

The site of the modern mosque has a long history. At first, it was only the tomb of Abu El Abbas El Mursi. In1307 AD, El Sheikh Zein El Din Ibn El Qattan, one of the richest traders of Alexandria, visited the tomb. Reverent of the Muslim scholar, he ordered his men to build a mausoleum and a dome for the tomb. He also built a fine mosque with a small square minaret, the Algerian Sheikh Abu el Hassan El Maghreby, after visiting the small mosque in 1775, ordered the building of the current one on this site.

 

The cream-colored Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque stands 23 m high and dressed in artificial stone, with a minaret on the southern side rising to 73 m. with a cream colored façade, four great domes, arabesque designs and a high minaret, the mosque is a beautiful sight. The interior of the Masjid Mursi Abu El-Abbas is also beautiful, if less so than the exterior. The skylights give the place a more light and airy feel than is available in older mosques.  The centerpiece of the prayer hall is the beautifully restored Mausoleum of Abu El-Abbas El-Mursi under the main dome. There are also a trio of lesser mausoleums in the mosque.

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