Alabaster Mosque of Muhammad Ali
The Alabaster Mosque of Muhammad Ali is the most popular Islamic mosque among Egypt travelers, because of its grandeur and its location at the Citadel in Cairo, making it the most visible of Islamic monuments in Cairo. It was built during the first half of the 19th century. Muhammad Ali Pasha, viceroy and effectively king of Egypt, is buried here.
The Alabaster Mosque at the Citadel of Salah el-Din sits atop a limestone hill overlooking Cairo and is the most important mosque in the city. Still used a place of worship today by the Muslims of Cairo, the architectural masterpiece opens its doors to visitors of all faiths. The lower part of the Mosque is clad inside and out with Alabaster, while the top part is constructed from the limestone cladding removed from the Pyramids of Giza. Inside the mosque your guide will introduce you to the basic beliefs of Islam, including a translation of the most common prayers.
The design of the Muhammad Ali Mosque is based on a plan similar to that of the Mosque of Sultan Ahmad in Istanbul, known as the Blue Mosque.
The complex consists of two parts, the mosque to the east and an open courtyard to the west. The mosque has three entrances, on the north, west and east walls. The western entrance opens onto the courtyard. On the west wall of the courtyard is an iron clock, given to Muhammad Ali by the French King Louis Philippe, in exchange for the obelisk now in the Palace de la Concorde, Paris.
The minarets of the Muhammad Ali Mosque are over eighty meters high. The highest dome is 52 meters high, with a diameter of 21 meters.
The Supreme Council of Antiquities under the direction of Dr. Zahi Hawass is working now on an important project to conserve and protect the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali at the Citadel. The mosque’s dome is undergoing cleaning and restoration. A new lighting system for the Citadel is being done by an Italian company in three phases. The first phase, the lighting of the mosque of Mohammad Ali, is complete. The next phase will be to light the whole 1.5 kilometres of the surrounding wall, and the third phase is to light the road of the Citadel from the entrance to the end.
No trip to Cairo is complete without visiting this wonder of Islamic architecture.