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It is among the very interesting mosques in Egypt. it stands proudly in the highest point inside the courtyard of Saladin Citadel. It is also called the Alabaster Mosque. The architect was Yousf Boushnaq, a Turkish man who came especially from Istanbul and built this great mosque for Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt (1805-1849). He made the plan according to the model of Sultan Ahamed Mosque at Istanbul. The works of construction began in 1830 A.D and continued ceaselessly till the death of Mohamed Ali, in 1849 who was buried in the tomb situated on the southern-east side of Beit Al Salah, to the right hand side of the entrance which leads to the main section.
In fact when the founder died the mosque was not totally completed. So some works were achieved during the reigns of his successors. In 1899 the mosque showed signs of cracking and repairs were undertaken but some of these works were not adequate. So, exactly in 1931 during the reign of king Fouad, a committee of some great architects was formed and presented a report consulting the demolition of the big main dome, the semi domes and the small domes and to be reconstructed according to the original design. Therefore, between 1931 till 1939 works of demolition, rebuilding, painting and gilding were continued and the total cost was 100, 000 LE.
The main material is limestone, but the lower parts of the mosque and the forecourt are faced to a height of 11.5 m. with alabaster. The mosque is rectangular in shape and it consists of two sections:
The Eastern Section, the main section ( Beit al Salah ) and the Western Section or the courtyard (the Sahn)
The Eastern Section
The Easter section is the part which is dedicated for the prayer. It is square in shape, each side measure 41 m. It has a central dome (52m in height) resting on four large arches, supported by massive piers. Surrounding the big central dome there are four half domes while there are other four small domes covering the corners.
The marble Mihrab is covered by a half-dome at the lower level. The domes are pointed and covered with medallions and other motifs, the interior dome is impressive because of its size and space and that is characteristic of Istanbul mosques. There are 6 medallions around the dome include the name of Allah (god), Mohamed, Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali. They were called the Orthodox Caliphs.
The mosque has 2 Minbars or pulpits; the original one is the larger, it is made of wood decorated with gilded ornaments, while the smaller one is of marble, it was gifted to the mosque by king Farouk in 1939 A.D. Above the entrance is a grand gallery supported on marble pillars with bronze balustrade. To the right of the entrance is the tomb of Mohamed Ali. It is of white marble covered with floral motifs, and pointed and gilded inscriptions. His body was transferred from Housh El Basha to that place in 1857. The bronze grill of the tomb was provided by king Abbas I (1849-1854).
The Western Section (The Courtyard or the Sahn)
It is a large open courtyard of about 54 m. in length and 53 m. in width. It is surrounded by a single arched riwaqs or naves raised on pillars and roofed with small domes.
In the middle of the courtyard (the Sahn) is the ablution fountain, it is octagonal in shape and covered by a large leaded domed canopy resting on 8 pillars with natural ornaments. Inside the dome is another marble small dome and it is octagonal in shape, decorated with floral motifs. In the walls of the riwaqs of the courtyard there are 46 widows. While the Eastern wall which overlooks the Eastern Section has 8 windows above which there is a frieze of inscription of the Koran (Surat Al Fath), and that frieze above the entrance to the Easter section is the name of the Turkish sultan Abd Al Maguid. Opposite to the doorway of the prayer House, in the S.W at the far end of the center of the NW Riwaq is a pavilion, above which is an elaborate French Clock, presented to Mohamed Ali in 1845 by the King Luis Philip in exchange of the obelisk which is now standing in the Concorde square in Paris. This clock has never been working properly!
At the west and the North Corners are 2 slender octagonal minarets that rise to 82 M in height. And has with 2 balconies.
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Take a taxi from your hotel to the citadle of salah eldin at old cairo district.
you may also go on an organised trip from your hotel or travel company
Please take off your shoes before entring the mosque.