CAIRO – 18 September 2017: The Ministry of Antiquities announced its success in thwarting a theft, targeting the Ibn Tulun Mosque’s collectibles.
The Tourism and Antiquities Police, in cooperation with Cairo and Sharqia Security Directorates, managed to stop a trail of digging under Ibn Tulun Mosque, the Head of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Sector, El-Saaed Helmy, told DMC.
Police officers found a hole that led to a crypt full of water directed towards the mosque. The crypt started from a house near the mosque.
The hole was dug up in search for the mosque’s collectibles by the alleged criminals.
Prominent historian and author Bassam El-Shamaa told Egypt Today he wonders about the purpose of the crypt and whether it would threaten the mosque’s foundations or not. It was proved that the crypt reached under the Zeyada, under the mosque’s fence.
He added that the alleged criminals didn’t target robbing the mosque’s collectibles, but were searching for unearthed artifacts.
El-Shamaa also mentioned that the Ibn Tulun mosque is full of valuable collectibles including the minber, base plate, and the mihrab of the mosque. The historian is coordinating in providing the mosque with security cameras to monitor parts of the mosque that could be robbed.
Reviewing a number of thefts that hit a number of historical sites, including the Qani Bai Mosque and the Coptic Museum, he stressed the necessity of exposing attempts to destroy Egyptian heritage sights and penalizing those responsible.
Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the most renowned symbols of Islamic architecture.
The mosque is an amusing architectural piece aesthetically. It is one of the only few monuments from Egypt’s Tulunid dynasty. Constructed in 884 A.D., the mosque is one of the oldest in Egypt.
The Minaret of the mosque follows the architectural style of Minaret Samarra.