On the south side of the main courtyard of the citadel we find the Mohamed Ali mosque, which is also known as the alabaster mosque, this is definitely one of the citadel main attractions. It was begun in 1824 by Mohamed Ali and completed in 1857, by his successor Said. The architect was Greek living in Istambul and took as model Nuruosmaniye Mosque which was modelled on the Hagia Sophia.
It's a bit of a climb to reach the mosque, but well worth it. You are able to enter the buildings and roam freely. As opposed to other places in Cairo there are very few vendors here. The architecture is stunning as are the views.
The mosque of Mohammed Ali Pasha is also known as the Alabaster Mosque because it was tiled on the outside with alabaster. Now only the lower level remains tiled. It was built between 1830 and 1848 on the citadel of Saladin (12th C).
You may visit the mosque except during prayer. Dress for both men and women is respectful - no skimpy clothes or shorts. Women must cover their shoulders and it is polite to cover your head as well. A scarf is an essential extra when travelling in Egypt. Shoes must not be worn inside the mosque.
The first stop of our Cairo tour was at the mosque of Muhammad Ali which was commissioned by Muhammad Ali (the ruler not the boxer) between 1830 and 1848. Thats about as much history as I can be bothered to write as I think this sort of thing is best learned while you are there and experiencing it.
Ladies, you will be expected to wear a green tent like thing if you aren't covered up. These are free of charge but pretty irritating when you are trying to take pictures. Everyone is also expected to remove their shoes which makes it even more awkward trying to carry your shoes, wear a green tent and take photos! However, you will get some pretty pictures.
Outside the mosque you will get a good view of Cairo. See my pictures for more!
TOne of the most striking buildings at the citadel is the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. He was an Albanian soldier who declared Egyptian independence from the Ottoman Empire early in the nineteenth century and founded the royal line that endured until 1952.
This mosque is supposed to be based on Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and therefore takes the form of an early Christian basilica.
If visiting in winter, wear thick socks, as the courtyard of the Mosque can be freezing cold when you remove your shoes. [I haven't been in summer, but I imagine that socks would also be a good idea to protect your feet from hot paving stones!]
The Mohammed Ali Mosque, often called the Alabaster Mosque is located on the south side of the Citadel. It is almost certainly the first feature that catches ones eyes at the fortress. It is one of the city's great landmarks with its tall and disproportionately slender minarets which are seen from almost everywhere in Cairo.
The Mosque is the most popular Islamic mosque among numerous tourists. It was begun in 1824 by Mohammed Ali and completed in 1857, under his successor Said. Muhammad Ali erected this mosque, where he is buried, as a monument to himself. The architect Yusuf Boshna from Istanbul, who was a Greek, took as his model the Nuruosmaniye Mosque in that city, which was modeled itself on the Hagia Sophia.
You may find the exact direction and watch my photos on Google Earth in Islamic Cairo according to the following coordinates:
30º 1' 54.14" N and 31º 15' 25.99" E
This great mosque is within the citadel.
It is a beatiful building, which took around 18 years to build.
Quite out of place is the 'clock tower', a gift from France, which was never in working oreder, as it fell on arrival in Egypt.
The architecture shows a definite Turkish influence.
The inside is also splendid.
It is worth taking a guided tour - it does make a difference.
Please respect the religion, as the mosque is used for prayers etc.
White marble, sitting on a high. It's a bit fat and squat but it is quite magnificent.
Ladies, cover your flesh (but no head cover is required) - if you are dressed inappropriately it's not a problem as they have bright emerald graduation robes for you to don.
This mosque is Turkish in style (due to Mohammed Ali having been a Turk) and is shown by the star above the moon. It took 17 years to build and then just as it was completed Mohammed dropped dead. The craftsmanship that has gone into every aspect of this mosque is fantastic.
Inside is busy with decoration and ioozing with opulence. It's all original, including the chains that hold the mammouth chandeliers (maybe don't sit beneath!) and the mats.
Some great views to behold of Cairo, Holy Mountain, the citadel etc...
This mosque is spectacular, just take a peek at the photo to see the encrusetd insides of the mosque - its wonderful!
Again this mosque had plenty of other visitors, entry was as usual free and Here I had to don one of those green robes I was telling you about!
The citadel and mosque of Mohammad Ali was a place of refuge for the Albanian born Ottoman Pasha to retreat during times of rebellion among citizens of Cairo, and occasionally his own army. It was built during the early 19th century when Belzoni, a former circus strongman and first archeologist of note in the Egyptian ruins, busied himself with trying to sell the Pasha a new hydraulic system for pulling water from the Nile, and with trying to hoist monolithic granite monuments onto boats destine for London. The citadel itself is older than the mosque and represents the last improvements of a defensive system that began centuries early, particularly under the Mamluk dynasties. When the Ottoman leader took charge, he leveled the Mamluk pasha palaces and built the mosque. The mosque is one of the largest in the world with a multiple dome system and the world's highest minarets. Unlike the older mosques adjacent to it, the Muhammad Ali mosque is distinctively Ottoman in style and strongly influenced by European design in its exterior ornamentation. Those entering the courtyard and mosque must remove their shoes. My Aunt and Uncle visited the citadel and mosque in 1960. Note the relative absence of cars and people during that time. When we visited the mosque in 1997, we found it to be a very busy place, but otherwise much in appearance the same as in 1960. Some scaffolding was up for repair of the beautiful exterior colored stonework. The last image here is actually an important entrance gate to the old walled city built in 1092. In the Mongol era the heads of six messengers of Hulagu (the Mongol leader) were hanged on it as a response of the Egyptian Sultan to Hulagu's threats of attacking Egypt. Later, Mamluk and Ottoman leader's customarily held executions here.
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