Al-‘Askar (Arabic: العسكر‎) was the capital of Egypt from 750–868, when Egypt was a province of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Capital of Egypt, 750–868
City of Cantonments or of Sections
al-‘Askar is located in Egypt
Historical location in Egypt
Coordinates: 30°01′26″N 31°14′52″E / 30.02389°N 31.24778°E / 30.02389; 31.24778
Currently part ofOld Cairo
Abbasid Caliphate750–868, 905-969
Tulunid Emirate868–905



After the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641, Fustat was established, just north of Coptic Cairo and the regional capital of Egypt was moved from Alexandria to the new city on the eastern side of the Nile.[citation needed]

Abbasid regional capital (750-868)Edit

The Rashiduns were followed by the Umayyads, who ruled until they were overthrown by the Abbasids in 750,[citation needed] when the Umayyad regional capital of Fustat was replaced with an Abbasid city slightly north of it, al-‘Askar. Its full name was Arabic: مدينة العسكري‎, romanizedMadinatu l-‘Askari, lit.'City of Cantonments or City of Sections'.[1] Intended primarily as a city large enough to house an army, it was laid out in a grid pattern that could be easily subdivided into separate sections for various groups, such as merchants and officers.

The peak of the Abbasid dynasty occurred during the reign of Harun al Rashid (r. 786-809), along with increased taxes on the Egyptians, who rose up in a peasant revolt in 832 during the time of Caliph al-Ma'mun (r. 813-833).[2]

Local Egyptian governors gained increasing autonomy, and in 870, governor Ahmad ibn Tulun declared Egypt's independence (though still nominally under the rule of the Abbasid Caliph). As a symbol of this independence, in 868 ibn Tulun founded yet another capital, al-Qatta'i, slightly further north of al-‘Askar.[2]

After 868Edit

Al-‘Askar, Fusṭāṭ,[2] and, after the 1168 fire that destroyed old Fustat, nearby al-Qāhirah (Cairo) became capitals of Egypt, the latter keeping this position to this day. Cairo's boundaries grew to eventually encompass the three earlier capitals of al-Fusṭāṭ, al-Qatta'i and al-‘Askar, the remnants of which can today be seen in "Old Cairo" in the southern part of the city.


  1. ^ "Al-Qatta'i". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  2. ^ a b c "Cairo History: The City of Tents". Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2009-08-15.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Capital of Egypt
Succeeded by