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Islamic sights

Sultan Hassan Madrassa and Mosque

Sultan Hassan Madrassa and Mosque


It is one of the extraordinarily wonderful Islamic Monuments In the Islamic World. Actually if Ancient Egypt has to proud of the Pyramids of Guiza , Islamic Egypt has to be proud of the Sultan Hassan Madrassa. The founder of this gigantic monument is The sultan Hassan son of the great Mameluke sultan Al Nasser mohamed Ibn Qalawoun. Sultan Hassan ruled twice, the first time in 1347 when he was 13 years old but he was dethroned by the other Mameluke princes and generals. The second time was in 1356 AD , and before he had time to put an end to the power of the princes and high officials , they revolted against him and the chief of the army with other generals attacked him. It said that he escaped from the citadel and hide in Cairo but he was discovered and imprisoned, then he was never seen again. Most probably he was murdered  after 16 years of his ascending to the throne and he left 10 sons and 6 daughters. The sultan hassan gave order for the construction of this Madrassa to be under the supervision of Prince Mohamad Ibn Baylik Al Muhssani in 1361 AD ,the works continued 4 years.


sultan hassan mosque


The mosque was almost complete when sultan Hassan disappeared or killed. Then it was finished completely by one of his functionaries who was called Bashir Al Gamdar. The place of the Madrassa was known before as Souq Al Khayl or the Horses Market. The Madrassa was built of stones, but some internals parts and details were built of bricks faced with stones. The  Madrassa-Mosque was built according to the cruciform, an open courtyard surrounded by 4 Iwans. It contains 4 Madrassas or ( religious schools) .It is 7906 m2. It is distinguished by its many sides. It has 4 façades , the most important the 2 main façades.


The most remarkable façade is the Northern-East. It is 145 m. in length and it is 38 m. in height. Its shear wall has 4 pairs of windows set vertically. At the top of the wall is a massive cornice of 5 layers of stalactites projecting about 1.5 m.      

The Sahn or the court of the Mosque is almost square about 34 m. L. and 32 m.W. with a large ablution fountain in the center. The ablution fountain is covered with a wooden dome carried on8 marble columns around its nick decorated with a band of inscriptions of The Koran ( the verse of Al Kursi) . At each corner of the Sahn ( the court) is a door leads to one of the 4 Madrassas ( schools), the bigest one is the Hanafiyya Madrassa, which occupies an area of 898 m.sq.

The Quibla Iwan is the biggest of the 4 Iwans of the Mosque.In its wall 2 windows in recesses and oculus above the Mihrab, the Pointed-arched Mihrab is fine and covered with marble and there are double small clumns supported the frame with complex joggled voussoirs .


On the rectangular outer frame is a band of Naskhi inscription. Flanking the Mihrab are windows with bronze grills. The Marble Minbar is covered with colored panels of marble decorated in its upper part by floral moifs. Dekkat Al mouballegh or the bench of the repeater, it  situated at the front of the Quibla Iwan, it is made of marble raised on 8 pillars and 3 piers.

There are 2 doors opened in the quibla wall leading to a mausoleum dome behind the Mihrab where the sultan is supposed to be buried . The Mausoleum dome is 21 m sq. and its decoration is similar to that of the quibla Iwan.


The grave itself Iwan the center with a coffin of coloured marble, surrounded by a small wooden screen. It was intended to be  a tomb for the sultan Hassan but it contains the bodies of 2 of his sons named Al Shehab Ahamd and Ishmael.  Actually 4 minarets were intended to be  built in the original plan but only 3 were erected,  the one over the entrance fell in the year  1361 AD . Now there are 2 minarets one dates back to the Ottoman period in the 17th Century while the bigger and the most beautiful one ( 81.6 m H.) is the original. This remarkable minaret stand at the Southern corner or the Eastern façade. and still one of the amazing features of this elegant structure.

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Tour packages

How to get there

Head northwest on El-Tahrir Square toward Meret Basha

Sharp left onto Kasr Al Nile

Continue onto Meret Basha

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Abd El-Qader Hamza -

Turn left onto El-Shaikh Rihan, Continue onto Sekat Rateb Basha Al Kber

Continue onto Ali Basha

Turn left to stay on Ali Basha, Turn right to stay on Ali Basha , Turn right onto Al Qalaaha , Take the 1st left onto Al Shamashirgai

Al Shamashirgai turns right and becomes Haret Al Shama Sheergi, Turn right onto Souk Al Silah

Turn left to stay on Souk Al Silah, Take the 1st right to stay on Souk Al Silah Turn right onto Salah El-Deen, Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan will be on the right

Interesting tips


Ideally the best time to visit outside sites is during the forenoon, when the sun has not yet reached its zenith. Sadly though being ideal is not always possible, especially on a tight schedule, and so the following is a good idea for when sites should be seen

Pharonic sites

Coptic sites

Greco roman

Nubian sites

Related links

Mosque of Amro

Sultan Hassan Mosque