Mosque Mohammed Ali (Alebastrovaya) in Cairo

Mosque Mohammed Ali is at the highest point of the Cairo Citadel. Since the citadel itself is located on the hill, the minarets of the mosque can be seen almost from anywhere in the city of Cairo.

This mosque is not the largest in Cairo and not the most ancient, but it was she who became one of the main attractions of the city. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, it is its accessibility for tourists, because the Nemumulman women are allowed into the menile hall. Secondly – colorful appearance, because it is fulfilled in Ottoman style with characteristic domes and minarets.

Thirdly – Beauty Construction. Outside the Mohammed Ali Mosque building is lined with plates from Alebaster, and its second name – "Alebaster Mosque". Alebaster plates were delivered here on the Nile from the town of Beni Sauseiff just as 4000 years ago, the plates of granite were brought here for the facing of the Egyptian pyramids.

Mohammed Ali Mosque is of great importance for Egypt, but in order to understand its value for the country, you need to talk a little about the history of its creation.

A bit of history

Mohammed Ali Egyptian received the title "Vali" (governor) of Egypt in 1805. Before him, power in the country officially belonged to Turkish governors, but actually the commander-Mamli commander. Mohammed Ali took away the actual power from them, and in 1811 he invited 600 main Mamlukov on a gala buffet and arranged a massive massacre, dealt with everyone. About 4,000 Mamlukov was killed around Egypt on the following days.

But Mohammed Ali sought to destroy the heritage of Mamlukov. He completely destroyed their buildings in the Cairo Citadel and began to build his. In 1816, his favorite son was died – Ahmed Tusun Pasha, and this mosque was decided to build in his memory.

Tusun-Pasha was an active warlord, he headed the Egyptian army in a campaign on the Arabian Peninsula in 1811 and achieved a complete victory over Wahhabi. Mohammed Ali saw her receiver in Tusun-Pashe.

In 1816, Tusun Pasha died near the village of Birinbal in Egypt. Presumably, the cause of death was a disease, according to some sources – plague. His images with good quality is not preserved, and on the left you see the portrait of Mohammed Ali Egypt.

Such a suspicious death of a talented heir at the age of only 22 years old causes suspicions and is a reason for historical investigations. Moreover, Tusun Pasha was not the eldest son of Mahammed Ali, but only the second to seniority. Naturally, many historians suspect the eldest son – Ibrahim-Pasha in the death of Tusun Pasha.

The mosque was devoted to the memory of Tusun Pasha, and the French architect Pascal Kosta was invited to design the building. Muhammed Ali loved all European, especially in Egypt at that time there were many French, they trained the army, engaged in archeology, built European-style buildings.

Pascal Kostou offered a building in traditional for Egypt style that absolutely not arranged Mohammed Ali. Recall that he tried to destroy the heritage of Mamluk by all means. Yusuf Bushnak from Istanbul was appointed the new chief architect.

He designed the building already in Ottoman style, taking the sample of the Istanbul mosque. On different sources, the prototype served either a blue mosque, or a new mosque in Istanbul.

Construction began in 1830 and continued until 1848 – until the death of Mohammed Ali. The construction worker has experienced two more rulers of Egypt – Ibrahim Pasha and Abbas Pasha and ended only during the Board of Said Pasha in 1857. After the end of construction in 1857, the body of Mohammed Ali was postponed.

It turns out that the mosque was built from 1830 to 1857 – a long-term length of 27 years, and during this time 4 of the rulers of Egypt changed.

Further Mosses Mohammed Ali stood over 150 years without special incidents. Only in 1931, there were problems in the main dome, and it had to be completely shifted, for which he left two years. From 1937 to 1939, the interior of the mosque was completely changed. In 1980 he conducted a large-scale restoration.

Cultural and historical importance

Many readers might think that Mohammed Ali wanted to please the Turkish Sultan, building the main Mosque of Egypt in Ottoman style. Everything is just the opposite. Mosque Mohammed Ali two minarets, and according to the laws of the Ottoman Empire, no one could build a mosque with two or more minarets, except for the Sultan himself and his sons.

Already at the time of starting the construction of the mosque in 1930, the relations of Turkey and Egypt were tense. Mohammed Ali stopped sending tribute to Istanbul, and a little later in 1931 a war began in which Egypt won actual independence.

Mohammed Ali Mosque became a symbol of Egypt’s independence from the Ottoman Empire, which was not officially recognized, but was actually a full-fledged.

Mohammed Ali dreamed of making Cairo "Second Istanbul" or "Paris in Africa", and this mosque was an important element of his plans. And although he lived 80 years and rules 44 of them, his plans were not destined to come true. Egypt of the 18th century simply did not have enough economic potential for similar "feats".

Undoubtedly, Mohammed Ali Mosque is the most beautiful construction of the 18th century not only in Cairo, but in all Egypt. It is worth looking at tourists, but at first you need to get here.

How to get

If you are on vacation at the resorts, you first need to get to Cairo. Read our reviews "How to get from Hurghada to Cairo" and "How to get from Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo".

In Cairo, the easiest way to visit the subway station to Sadat (intersection 1 and 2 branches). Next, take a taxi to the Cairo Citadel, distance – 6 kilometers, a trip price – about 25 Egyptian pounds. We see the metro schema in our review "Metro Cairo", taxi rates in the Taxi review in Egypt, the current course of the pound in the review "What Money in Egypt".

The dome and minarets of the mosque are visible from everywhere, in the citadel you will easily find it.

Opening hours

From 8-00 to 16-00. On Friday, the mosque is closed for tourists.

What’s the cover charge

Free, but for the entrance to the Kairo Citadel itself will have to pay 180 Egyptian pounds.

Dress code

He is the same as in other mosques. Woman should be in a scarf, legs and hands should be closed with clothes, and the clothes itself should not be tight. Men must be closed shoulders and knees. See the visual instructions in our article about the Sheikh Zaid Mosque in Abu Dhabi, it will be clearer.

If your vestivation does not meet the requirements, then the mosque will give a special cape. This service is paid. In the mosque, it is necessary to remove shoes. Paul here is made of marble, it can be cold. Dress socks, or take them with you.

Mosque Mohammed Ali (Alebastrovaya) in Cairo

What to see outside

Mosque leaves a strong impression. The building has a square form at the base of about 50 meters. The main central dome has a diameter of 21 meters, and the height of the mosque on the top of the dome – 52 meters. Such a form close to Cuba produces a strange impression on some tourists, it seems that the building is something like a Rubik cube. High slender minarets have a height of 82 meters.

Especially impressively Mosque Mohammed Ali looks at night when turning on the backlight. But walking to look at it near we are not recommended, still Cairo is considered quite dangerous for tourists in the city.

This illumination is a technical miracle, it is made on LED technology, that is, with LEDs. It’s better not to think about how much it cost.

The mosque complex consists of two parts: Mosque itself from the east side and a large yard of 54 sizes 53 meters from Western. The courtyard is very beautiful, the floor here is covered with alabastric plates.

The courtyard around the perimeter is surrounded by semicircular arches with small dips and marble columns. In the center of the courtyard there is a marble fountain with a wooden carved roof, it serves for the ablutions of believers. See a small photo gallery below.

What to look inside – Sarcophag Mohammed Ali

After the death of Mohammed Ali was buried in Cairo on the Khavsh Al-Basha cemetery. And only in 1857, when the mosque was finished, his body was postponed here.

The tomb and sarcophagus are made from Carrara Marble – one of the most valuable varieties produced in Italy. Sarcophag decorated with inscriptions and great carvings.

The tomb is very little light, and it is very difficult to make a good photo. Believe that the "live" impression will be in tens of times stronger than from the photo on the left.

When you look at such a splendor, then you ask for a question: what was the funeral? In fact, the funeral was very modest – without lush ceremonies or state mourning. Receiver Mohammad Ali – Abbas Pasha even attended them. All this describes us John Murray, who at that moment was the consul of the British Empire in Egypt. His assessment of the entire funeral action is extremely negative and even close to indignation.

What to look inside – Mileal Hall

The space inside the mosque is impressive – 41 by 41 meters. The design of the domes is maintained by four massive columns. In the center there is a big chandelier. Do not forget to look up, see the internal surfaces of the central dome and side half-cup. This impression is the most bright in Mohammed Ali Mosque. See below a small photo gallery.

Still important and useful to know

– Mosque acting, so on Fridays it is closed for Juma Namaz. What it is, and why on Friday, read in our review "Friday and weekend in Egypt";

– During the month of Ramadan, working hours may change. And there is no system, every year in different ways. We look at the time of the month in the article "Ramadan in Egypt";

– Ticket to Citadel need to buy for pounds. We advise money to change in advance. Read our review "How to change money in Egypt".

Successful visits to the sights of Cairo, and read our other articles about Egypt (Links below).

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