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Published on May 6, 2012
The Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque is the most historic and most beautiful mosque in Alexandria. It was built primarily in 1775 over the tomb of a Spanish scholar and saint, Abu El Abbas El Mursi (1219-86), and stands on Mosque Square overlooking the eastern harbor. The tomb was partly made by Algerians. Abu al-Abbas lived in Alexandria for 43 years as a scholar and teacher until his death in 1286. He was buried in a small building near the eastern harbor in Alexandria. The tomb of Abu al-Abbas became a place of veneration for many Muslims from Egypt, Tunis, Algeria and Morocco who passed through Alexandria on their way to and from Mecca. The mosque was periodically restored over the centuries by rulers who built themselves tombs next to the saint. The mosque was lastly beautified in 1943 under King Farouq I (reigned1937-1952), who built the Midan el Masajid, or "Mosque Square." The square covers some 43,200 square meters. The Mosque of Abu el Abbas el Mursi was the focal point and center of this square, and it is surrounded by five other mosques, among which is that of al-Busiri and Yaqut al-Arshi. The present mosque was built by the Egyptian government in the beautiful Arabian style that was popular during the Ayyubid Period, the time when Abu El Abbas El Mursi first came to Alexandria from Spain.