CAIRO - 5 March 2018: In our daily life, we purchase or sell goods and services by using money, but have you thought about the images on the bank notes? Where are these historical sites? Who are these people? we will explore the Egyptian civilization via its currency.
1 – LE 200
Egyptian seated scribe on the reverse of LE 200 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The scribe who is depicted on the back of the LE 200 note sitting on floor, wearing a black wig and holding a papyrus and a pen was an ancient Egyptian scribe ‘writer’ during the Pharaonic era.
A scribe’s duties ranged from writing letters for town people and recording harvests to supervising the construction of monumental buildings; administrative and economic activities were also authorized by scribes.
Qani-Bay Al-Rammah Mosque
Islamic architecture reached its peak during the Mamluk era. The mosque of Qani-Bay Al-Rammah was designed as one large impressive complex building for various purposes, such as religious, educational, social and funerary purposes. The complex belongs to Qaniby Al-Safi, aka Al-Rammah, who was famous for his horsemanship and spears.
Qani-Bay Al-Rammah Mosque on the obverse of LE 200 - Beshoy Fayez
The mosque is featured on the LE 200 banknote because of its architectural and historical value. It was established in 1503 AD/ 908 AH on a high hill at the Citadel Square. However, it has been closed since 1992.
2 – LE 100
The great Sphinx of Giza on the back of LE 100 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The Great Sphinx
The Great Sphinx is on the LE 100 note, as it is the oldest statue in the Egyptian civilization; it is located next to the Pyramids of Giza, and dates back to the reign of King khafre - fourth king of the Fourth Dynasty. It has a lion’s body and a human head, combining the power of the lion with the wisdom of man. Some experts said that it represents King Khare.
The Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan
The Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan in the front of LE 100 - Beshoy Fayez
The complex of Sultan Hassan is a massive mosque and school located near the citadel in Cairo. Its construction took three years - without a single day of rest - during the Mamluk era, from 1356 to 1359 CE. This mosque is considered a remarkable piece of art for its fantastic size and innovative architectural components. It comprises schools for all the four doctrines of the Sunni school; Syafi'i, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali.
3 – LE 50
The Temple of Edfu on the reverse of LE 50 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The Temple of Edfu
The Temple of Horus in Edfu, also known as the Temple of Edfu, is considered to be the best preserved and second largest temple in Egypt after the Karnak temple. Horus’ Temple reflects the traditional Pharaonic architecture, as it was built during the Ptolemaic era from 237 to 57 BC. It was oriented from east-west instead of the current north- south configuration.
Abo Hreba mosque
Abo Hreba Mosque is one of the great archaeological mosques established during the Qajmas Ishaqi era, the Mamluk prince of Circassia. It was built in 885 AH (1480 AD) in Al Darb Al Ahmar Street, near Bab Zuweila. Even though it was established by Seif al-Din Al-Qajmas Ishaqi, it was named Abo Hreba Mosque after Sheikh Abo Hreba who lived and was buried in it.
Abo Hreba mosque in the front of LE50 -Beshoy Fayez
Subsequently, the Egyptian state had honored this mosque by putting its image on the LE 50 note.
4 - LE 20
The chariot on the reverse of LE 20 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The chariot is a two-wheeled vehicle that was used in ancient times for racing and fighting and was pulled by a horse or horses. It was introduced to Egypt by the Hyksos invaders in the 16th century BC.
Mosque of Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali Mosque is one of the most renowned historical and touristic landmarks in Egypt. It was cemented on the highest point inside the courtyard of the citadel of Salah Al-Din. Its construction began in 1830 until 1848 and it was built in the style of Ottoman mosques in Istanbul.
Mosque of Mohamed Ali on the observe of LE 20 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
Turkish architect Yousef Boushnaq came from Istanbul to build this great mosque for Mohamed Ali who ruled Egypt from 1805 to 1849. Mohamed Ali was buried in a tomb that he had prepared for himself within the mosque.
5 – LE 10
Pharaoh Khafre on the back of LE 10 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
Khafre was the fourth king of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. The second great pyramid of Giza was built by Khufu’s second son Khafre. He also built the great Sphinx in Giza.
Moreover, Khafre took power after the death of his older brother Diedefrea, but some historians said Khafre murdered his brother to take the throne. Khafre commanded his sculptors to carve the God, Horus, behind his head which means he was representing Horus on earth.
Al Rifai Mosque
Al Rifai Mosque is a symbol of religious tolerance, as it is decorated by Christian crosses.
Al Rifai mosque in the obverse of LE 10 - Beshoy Fayez
It is one of largest mosques in Cairo, and it is situated in the Citadel Square. It faces the mosque and school of Sultan Hassan; even though the time lapse between them was about 500 years, Al Rifai Mosque is similar to the mosque of Sultan Hassan in magnitude and height.
In 1869, Khushyar Hanim entrusted Husayn Fahmi Pasha to build a large mosque; it was completed in 1912 - about 43 years later. The mosque is almost rectangular in shape and it consists of two sections, the first part is the pray house and the second part consists of the royal tombs and mausoleums.
Khedive Ismail and three of his wives, Sultan Hussein Kamel, King Fouad, his mother Princess Ferial and his son King Farouk, the Shah of Iran as well as Khushyar Hanim were all buried in this mosque before the completion of its construction; thus adding to the mosque's importance.
6- LE 5
The god of Nile ‘Hapi’ on the reverse of LE 5 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The god of the Nile ‘Hapi’
Hapi was the ancient Egyptian god of the Nile. During the flood, Egyptians would throw offerings, amulets and other sacrifices into the Nile for Hapi.
He was also god of Upper and Lower Egypt. The LE 5 banknote shows that Hapi gives prosperity for Egyptian people, with the lotus on his head representing the south and the papyrus referring to the north.
Simultaneously, the bar below the currency shows the process of agriculture and milking cows; it refers to the importance of agriculture.
Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
Is considered the second oldest mosque extant in Egypt that has survived mostly in its original form and it is also the third largest mosque in the world; at over 26,000 square meters, Ahmed Ibn Tulun - founder of the Tuluind state in 869 AD - established this mosque between 876 AD and 879 AD as the capital of the Tuluind state in Egypt in order to accommodate his entire troops during Friday prayers.
Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun on the obverse of LE 5 - CC via Wikimedia Commons
The mosque located in the Sayeda Zeinab Neighborhood, it was inspired by the mosque of Samarra -I bn Tulun’s homeland in Iraq. The Ibn Tulun mosque is famed for its architecture and unique minaret.