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Ancient water tanks found beneath Al-Azhar Mosque

Ancient water storage tanks were discovered Monday under Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque during renovation work funded by Saudi Arabia, local news sources reported.

Ancient water tanks found beneath Al-Azhar Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo, Egypt [Credit: Diego Delso/WikiCommons]
The restoration is funded and carried out by Saudi Arabia under the supervision of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The project, planned to last for a year, is estimated to cost 30 million EGP  ($3.83 million) in a grant from late Saudi King Abdullah.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb inspected the renovation Monday. The mosque was renovated following an earthquake in the 90s, with the UNESCO offering expert advice to the Egyptian authorities, which did not respond. UNESCO later reported that the rehabilitation of the mosque “did not respect the authenticity of the monument.”

Ancient water tanks found beneath Al-Azhar Mosque
Renovation oF Al-Azhar Mosque [Credit: Youm7]
Al-Azhar Mosque was built in 970 as a Shiite institution by the Fatimids, but Sunni Saladin largely closed the mosque after he took over Egypt from the Fatimids in 1171. The mosque remained closed for about 100 years.

The mosque, a Sunni institution since it was reopened by the Mamluks, remains to be a highly-regarded religious institution and school in the Islamic world.

Source: The Cairo Post [September 02, 2015]

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