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  Al-Azhar mosque

Al-Azhar mosque and university, constructed during the Fatimids, are today the most important grounds for religious education in the Muslim world. The mosque's construction began in 970 A.D. and was completed two years later and consequently opened for prayer. About 17 years later the mosque acquired university status and began teaching a variety of religious fields. The university has expanded greatly since then and teaches a variety of sciences including medicine, engineering and agriculture. The university was one of the first ever in the world and until today remains one of the most respected in the Islamic world. The overall structure appears irregularly built with avenues of columns leading around the complex. Teachers would sit at the bases of columns, surrounded by their students, following the tradition of there forefathers The library contains approximately 50,000 volumes many of which are priceless. From a distance, the five minarets rising high above the complex are the most prominent feature. They make for spectacular look-out points from which one can view the hustle and bustle of Old Cairo. Sharia el Azhar. 3km east of Midan el Tahrir

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