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Cairo

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Cairo

    Arabic al-Qahira (meaning “victorious”). Capital of Egypt, largest city in Africa (sixteen million inhabitants), and a major cultural, religious, and political center. Located on the Nile banks. Founded by the Fatimids in 969 ; Fatimid Cairo contains al-Azhar (established 970 ), the renowned Islamic university. Fortified with the hilltop Citadel in 1176 by Salah al-Din ( Saladin ). Flourished under the Mamluks (thirteenth to sixteenth century), who erected splendid mosques, khans, khanaqahs (Sufi lodges), and madrasas for religious education. Contains hundreds of mosques, educational institutions, and magnificent architectural structures dating back to medieval times. Largely transformed in the nineteenth century with the building of European-style structures. Remains a major cultural and educational center for the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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