650-Year-Old Cairo Mosque Restored

Developers unveiled the restoration of a 650-year-old mosque in Cairo's old city, part of an effort to revitalize the impoverished district and boost tourism to the country's treasure trove of Islamic sites.

The three-year, $1.4 million project restored the Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque, built in 1344-1345 by Aslam al-Bahai, an amir or nobleman who rose to the position of "silahdar," or "swordbearer" for Sultan al-Nasir Mohammed, one of the most powerful of Egypt's Mamluk rulers.

It is tucked into Cairo's al-Darb al-Ahmar district, a dense warren of narrow, dusty alleyways. Many of its 92,000 inhabitants are among the poorest in Egypt, living on less than $1 a day, according to the Canadian Development Agency, which works in the community.

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