I am fascinated by history for sure, but design and architecture is what gets my attention of everything else I inspect the most. Muhammed Ali Pasha mosque is a masterpiece of art, aslo called the Alabaster Mosque, and to this day it is considered the richest of its kind.
Muhammed Ali’s mosque was built on the highest summit on the site of Saladin Citadel in Cairo, which is a major landmark and touristic attraction in old Cairo, Egypt.
The moment you enter, you’ll find yourself standing in the middle of this huge peaceful spacious alabaster (white marble material) covered splendid courts, sort of Aladin movie description of Jasmin’s castle! Four sides of arcades or riwaq are out in the open while in the middle there’s an incredible colorful centerpiece for ablution before Muslim’s prayer. The artwork of this place is incredible.
Unlike Memluk style, the mosque has been designed in a very distinguished ottoman style, designed by a Turkish architect in 1830 that was completed in 1848. There are two pencil shaped minarets, 32 meters each, taking after the Turkish style of mosques as well.
There is an interesting story behind the clock that stands in the outer courts of Muhammed Ali’s mosque which goes back to the time of building the mosque in 1845 where King Louis Philippe of France presented it as a gift to Muhammed Ali, while in return he gave him the Obelisk of Luxor’s temple. Since this clock arrived as a gift, it never worked with all the efforts of engineering to fix it!
Going inside the mosque, the lighting is magical, pendant lanterns or mishkah lamps that light the whole mosque in a circular structure. Actually all there’s to do is to look up, you can sit down and enjoy this moment of pure forms of tranquility and design. The mosque is built on four main pillars and little minor ones with a huge dome in the middle (radius 21 meters and height of 52 meters) that is surrounded by four semi domes which are also surrounded by four more shallow domes. You can see them also from the outside.
Decorative scripts and names in Qur’an and Islamic scriptures fill the inside of the amazing mosque in gold plated, so many colors and alabaster specifically the Mehrab . The pulpit was added later by King Farouk to match the mosque colors.
Muhammed Ali actually built that mosque in order to get buried there, so you’ll find his tomb at the back from the Mihrab and pulpit.
Another interesting story about the history of the citadel, is that during Muhammed Ali’s rule, he invited all the Memluks to celebrate his son’s future conquest, tricking them into a genocide in 1811 in fear of other power to rule Egypt. The Citadel tour is a must do in old Cairo, Egypt, it’s sure full of history and an architecture wonder.
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How Egyptolution has come to pace with Egyptian travel is an interesting story that was born as a result of Egypt after the Revolution of Jan25, 2011; and with the new rise of Egypt, a new partnership of travel novelty has taken place between Malak Mitch, Founder and Managing Director, and I (Christine Ghobrial, Managing Editor) where we have decided together to build a new threshold of communication ... Read More.