Egypt unveils renovation of 14th-century Maridani mosque

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities held a ceremony to mark the completion of multi-year renovations to the grand 14th-century mosque of Altunbugha al-Maridani in Historic Cairo.

Al-Maridani, chief of police and married to a daughter of the powerful Mamluk sultan al-Nasir Mohamed, built the mosque in 1338-40 A.D. on al-Darb al-Ahmar street, a thoroughfare connecting Cairo's Citadel to the walled city's southern gate.

The mosque's main entrance is decorated in ornate inscriptions and fine marble. Its columns were salvaged at the time of construction from older buildings.

The mosque's exterior and minaret were renovated in a first phase begun in 2018 and completed in 2021, while the later 18-month second phase focused on the interior. The European Union and the Aga Khan Foundation helped fund the project.

The mosque had been heavily renovated between 1895 and 1903.

Tuesday's event was attended by Egyptian, EU and foundation officials, including the foundation's director and the deputy governor of Cairo.

It was the first such event since a new director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mohamed Ismail Khaled, was appointed in March.

(This story has been corrected to clarify the inauguration day was Tuesday, not Wednesday, in paragraph 6)

(Reporting by Sherif Fahmy; Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)