Mohammad Ali Mosque

Travelling from the Centre of Cairo, we travelled towards the eastern end of Cairo – towards a limestone spur where the Citadel which was home to the Egyptian Rulers over a period of 700 years. Part of the Citadel is the Muhammad Ali Mosque. The design of the Mosque was Turkish – coming from the Ottoman era – and dominates the skyline of Eastern Cairo

Muhammad Ali Mosque towards the east of Cairo

The mosque is the Tomb of Muhammad Ali and is also known as the Alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of this fine material. Its has two slender 86 metre minarets which is unusual for Cairo.

From the arcaded courtyard, visitors view across the city to the pyramids in Giza is magnificent – the only big issue is the smoke in the air that restricts the distance that can be seen. Just off the courtyard is the vast prayer hall with an Ottoman style dome which is about 55 metres above.

The mosque built on the site of old Mamluk buildings in Cairo’s Citadel between 1830 and 1848, but was not completed until 1857. The architect was Yusuf Bushnak and based on the Yeni Mosque in Istanbul.

Before completion of the mosque, the alabastered panels from the upper walls were taken away and used in other locations. The stripped walls were clad with wood painted to look like marble. The mosque’s condition became so dangerous that a complete scheme of restoration was ordered in 1931 and was finally completed under King Farouk in 1939.

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