ARCE

Aslam al-Silahdar Conservation and Documentation

Aslam al sliahdar

Project Director: Aga Khan Trust for Culture & Christophe Bouleau

Historic Era: Islamic Period (Mamluk)

Project location: Cairo Governorate

Project duration: June 2005 – March 2009

The mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar was built in 1344 by a Mamluk prince and features jewel-toned inlaid marble and glittering glass mosaics. The American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) carried out the comprehensive conservation of the monument directed by Christophe Bouleau. ARCE and skilled laborers from the surrounding neighborhood worked on the structural and aesthetic conservation of the mosque.

Repairs first began on the exterior of the mosque and the interior was used as a workspace to clean and conserve smaller movable components like doors, wooden paneling, metal grilles, and windows. A geotechnical survey assessed the mosque’s structural stability and cleaning and documentation work began on the exterior façades, roof, dome, and minaret. A new ablution was also constructed to replace the original one, which had posed a conservation risk to the mosque due to water leakage.

The team removed and replaced decayed stones and cleaned the minaret and dome with micro sandblasting. They replaced the wooden roofing and then carefully insulated it against the weather and moisture. Inside the mosque, the project plastered and repainted walls, installed new windows, and conserved and reinstalled original inlaid doors and wooden paneling. Cracks in the walls were consolidated and new brickwork fitted where necessary to reinforce the walls and fill gaps. Finally, conservators cleaned and fully restored all of the mosque’s stunning gypsum and stucco decorations to their original vibrancy.

Statement of Responsibility:

The conservation of the Aslam al-Silahdar mosque was managed and implemented by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) with the support of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (formerly the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities).

Funding:

Conservation of the monument was funded through the American Research Center in Egypt's Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project (ARCE-EAC) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Agreement No. 263-A-00-04-00018-00, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), and the U.S. Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation.

See Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque on Google Maps here

Additional Resources

Saving Cairo's Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque
Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque
The Anatomy of a Mosque
Tour the Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque
Mamluk Architectural and Artistic Trends