Fustat, was the first capital of Egypt under Muslim rule. It was built by the Muslim general Amr ibn al-As immediately after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD641, and featured the Mosque of Amr, the city reached its peak in the 12th century, with a population of approximately 200,000. It was the centre of power in Egypt, until it was ordered burnt in 1168 by its own vizier, Shawar. The area fell into disrepair for hundreds of years and was used as a rubbish dump, today, Fustat is part of Old Cairo, with few buildings remaining from its days as a capital. Many archaeological digs have revealed the wealth of buried material in the area, many ancient items recovered from the site are on display in Cairos Museum of Islamic Art. Fustat was the capital of Egypt for approximately 500 years, after the citys founding in 641, its authority was uninterrupted until 750, when the Abbasid dynasty staged a revolt against the Umayyads. This conflict was focused not in Egypt, but elsewhere in the Arab world, when the Abbasids gained power, they moved various capitals to more controllable areas. They had established the centre of their caliphate in Baghdad, moving the capital from its previous Umayyad location at Damascus, similar moves were made throughout the new dynasty. In Egypt, they moved the capital from Fustat slightly north to the Abbasid city of al-Askar, when the Tulunid dynasty took control in 868, the Egyptian capital moved briefly to another nearby northern city, Al-Qattai. This lasted only until 905, when Al-Qattai was destroyed and the capital was returned to Fustat, the city again lost its status as capital city when its own vizier, Shawar, ordered its burning in 1168. The capital of Egypt was ultimately moved to Cairo and his camp at that time was just north of the Roman fortress of Babylon. Amr declared the doves nest as a sign from God, the word Miṣr was an ancient Semitic root designating Egypt, but in Arabic also has the meaning of a large city or metropolis, so the name Miṣr al-Fusṭāṭ could mean Metropolis of the Tent. Fusṭāṭ Miṣr would mean The Pavilion of Egypt, egyptians to this day call Cairo Miṣr, or, colloquially, Maṣr, even though this is properly the name of the whole country of Egypt. The countrys first mosque, the Mosque of Amr, was built in 642 on the same site of the commanders tent. For thousands of years, the capital of Egypt was moved with different cultures through multiple locations up and down the Nile, such as Thebes and Memphis, depending on which dynasty was in power. After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt around 331 BC, the became the city named for him, Alexandria. This situation remained stable for nearly a thousand years, after the army of the Arabian Caliph Umar captured the region in the 7th century, shortly after the death of Muhammad, he wanted to establish a new capital. When Alexandria fell in September 641, Amr ibn al-As, the commander of the conquering army, the early population of the city was composed almost entirely of soldiers and their families, and the layout of the city was similar to that of a garrison
Image: Fostat 329
The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As. Though none of the original structure remains, this mosque was the first one built in Egypt, and it was around this location, at the site of the tent of the commander Amr ibn al-As, that the city of Fustat was built.
Indian textile fragment, circa 1545 – 1645, found in Fustat. Old, discarded textile fragments are commonly found in the area, preserved in the dry climate of Egypt.
Image: Egyptian Lusterware Plate with Bird Motif Walters 482036