Egypt Travel Guide – Mosque of Mohamed Ali

Mosque of Mohamed Ali in the citadel

The Citadel of Cairo is very famous worldwide and located inside is another famous place referred as the mosque of Mohammed Ali which was designed by Yussuf Bushnaq who was a Greek architect. The mosque was started constructing in 1830 and got completed in 1857. The mosque was constructed by Mohamed Ali Pasha who was the ruler of Egypt and the founder of the last dynasty of Khedives and Kings. The mosque depicted an ottoman style. The mosque also known as the Alabaster mosque is the tomb of Mohammad Ali. The extensive use of alabaster can be seen which was brought from Nei Suef. The two minarets which are slender and 270 feet are an unusual treat for Cairo; the arcaded courtyard offers a magnificent view to the Giza pyramids. The perfect location has made this mosque one of the most visited mosques in Cairo by tourists.

More about the mosque

Mohamed Ali Mosque in the citadel is a very interesting mosque and stands proudly on the highest point of the citadel. The plan of this mosque was inspired from the Sultan Ahmed Mosque that is located in Istanbul. Mohamed Ali was buried in the tomb situated on the south-eastern side of Beit Al Salah, on the right side of the entrance that leads to the main section.

Some facts about the mosque

The mosque is rectangular in shape and the main material used for its construction is limestone. Meanwhile the lower parts of the mosque and the forecourt are said to have been made with alabaster which faced to a height of 11.5m. The two sections inside the mosque are the eastern or the main section which is known as “Beit al Salah” or “House of Prayer”. The western section meanwhile is known as the “Sahn” “or “Courtyard”. The mosque has 2 Minbars or pulpits; the original one is the larger one of the two and is made of wood decorated and adorned with gilded ornaments, while the smaller one is of marble, it was gifted to the mosque by king Farouk in 1939 A.D.

The damage

The mosque started showing signs of cracks and damage in 1899 after which repair and restoration work started but some repairs were still not enough. Thus to take a serious step a committee was set up in 1931 during the rule of King Fuad I which consisted of many great architects who presented a report suggesting that the big and main dome must be demolished along with the small domes and semi domes and then reconstructed just like they were during the original structure. The restoration project continued from 1931 to 1939 and included demolition, building and rebuilding, painting and gilding, was undertaken; the total cost being 100,000 LE.

Even though known as the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, but he was originally not buried in his mosque but later during the time king Abbas I (1849-1854), His body was transferred from Housh El Basha to the inside of the mosque where it rests inside The bronze grill, even today.