Climbing the Blue Mosque’s Minaret
Have you ever climbed a minaret? Admittedly, it can be scary to perch on a small balcony, over 100 feet above the ground. Next question: have you ever climbed a minaret FROM THE OUTSIDE?
That is what I did with a group of Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), conservators who, along with WMF, are restoring the Aqsunqur mosque in Cairo, also known as the Blue Mosque, due to the color of the Iznik tiles that cover the back wall of the prayer hall. The minaret was one of the first elements of the mosque to be conserved, so scaffolding was erected to allow the conservators to work, meter by meter, on cleaning and fixing the surface of the minaret's stone blocks and plaster decorations.
The work is now complete, but we will have to wait until the scaffolding is taken down before we can see the minaret in its brilliant condition. Together with the conservation work made with WMF's assistance to Khayrbek and Sultan Sha'aban mosques—a short distance from Blue mosque—and to Tarabay Sharifi mausoleum, the streetscape in the Darb el-Ahmar quarter is improving year after year. Plan a visit to amazing Cairo soon.