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Fustat: information

  • 9th April 641 (20 A.H.) - The Muslim general 'Amr ibn al-'As conquered Babylon (Bab al-lun), the Byzantine fortress near modern Cairo after a siege of six months.
  • Next to the fortress a military camp was installed at the time of the siege for the tribes involved in the siege.
  • The fortress was surrounded by a ditch (Arabic: fustat, Latin: fossatum), which gave the name for the place: Fustat.
  • 642 - Alexandria capitulated. Fustat became the administrative capital of the province Egypt. The tents were replaced by mud brick houses. 'Amr also built a mosque (said to be the oldest mosque in Egypt).
  • new quarters were laid out in the northern sector of the city by Ahmed Ibn Tulun (al-Qatai) (ruled 868-884)
  • 1168 (564 A.H.) - the city fell to an army sent by Amaury, crusader king of Jerusalem, who occupied it and used it as headquarters for his siege of the palaces north of the city. Shawar, the Fatimid vizier, defending the palaces, took 20 000 vessels of naphta and fired them into Fustat. The conflagration lasted fifty four days.
  • Fustat was resettled after this event, but the centre of the city moved to the north.

The excavations:

Fustat has long been a source for surface finds.

  • 1912 - 1924 - the first controlled excavations by Aly Bahgat
  • 1930 - 1964 - several scholars made excavations all behalf of the Islamic Museum in Cairo
  • 1964 - start of the the American excavations led by George T. Scanlon
  • 1978 - today - excavations by Japanese missions (1978-1984 - Waseda University, since 1980 in collaboration with the Idemitsu Museum; since 1984 by the Middle Eastern Culture Center)
  • 1985 - today - excavations by a French mission under Roland-Pierre Gayraud

further reading:


The mosque of 'Amr/the Japanese excavations



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