Alabaster Mosque, Cairo
Nested in the heart of Cairo is the Alabaster Mosque. In all my travels, it is a most memorable one, maybe second behind Sultanamet's (Blue) Mosque in Istanbul.
The interior is wonderfully kept. The view from the wall to the expansive city below are memorable as well.
The Muhammad Ali Mosque is built after the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and it is known as The Alabaster Mosque because of the decoration of its facade.
It was built between 1830 and 1848. Initially the French architect Pascal Coste was hired but then for unknown reason, Mohamed Ali changed his mind and hired Yusuf Bushnaq as an architect of the mosque.
Inside, in the southwest corner of the mosque is the marble cenotaph of Mohamed Ali, moved there from one of his successor, King Abbas I.
Look at the iron clock in the courtyard and the chandelier inside. The both of them were a gift to Mohamed Ali by French King Louis Philippe in exchange of the obelisk from Luxor that is on the Palace de la Concorde in Paris. The interesting thing is that the clock has never worked. The Egyptians decided never to fix it up as a protest against the unequal exchange.
To enter the mosque you need to dress appropriately, your upper arms and legs should be covered, if you are wearing shorts they do have fabric for you to cover up with. You must also take off your shoes, which you can just carry around with you.
Mohammed Ali was born in Greece of Albanian origin. He was a soldier in the troops that were sent to Egypt to free the country of Napoleon's occupation and took part in the battle of Abou Kir in 1799. In 1808 he was the commander of the Albanian troops in Egypt.
When you come out the entrance to the side of the Alabaster Mosque, there is an square with a railing from which you can see some fantastic views of Cairo and see why it is known as the city of minarets.
To visit Mosques in Cairo is not necessary a guide, do it by yourself and by taxi.... much cheaper and yo have the chace to visit more than one mosque.
I only visit one mosque, the Alabaster one. It is mostly used for tourists, not too many people came here to pray.
Over here is the clock France gave to Egypt for the obelisk that is in the Concord square(check Luxor page), but it is not working... it never worked...
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The attractive Alabaster Mosque is also known as the Mosque of Muhammed Ali. There are pleasant walkways & gardens surrounding the mosque to enjoy.
Situated in the Islamic area of Cairo
Quite imposing with its tin cupolas glinting in the sun, the Mohammed Ali mosque is very spectacular