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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali or the Albaster Mosque in Cairo

One of the main landmarks in Cairo is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali or the Albaster Mosque. The mosque situated atop the citadel was built in the memory of Tusun Pasha, the oldest son of Muhammad Ali. The mosque has a large central dome and four small circular domes which are surrounded by four semi-circular domes. There are 2 minarets built in the Turkish style.


The mosque was built with limestone but some parts of it are tiled with Albaster and hence it is often referred to as the Albaster Mosque. The mosque also has a clock tower. Our guide told us the history of the clock. In 1829 Muhammad Ali Pasha, offered the two obelisks that marked the entrance of the Luxor temple to France as a friendly gift. In 1833 one of the obelisks was shipped to France. In return King Louis Philippe of France sent a clock to Muhammad Ali. Since the clock arrived in Egypt it has never worked. But nonetheless it was mounted onto the clock tower in the mosque and it remains there till date.



When you enter the mosque you need not cover you head but footwear is not allowed. You either remove your footwear or buy the shoe covers that are sold there. Also carry water and refreshing wet wipes as it is extremely dusty. In fact the whole mosque was covered in dust.

The interiors of the mosque are lovely. The design and the motifs on the ceiling was beautiful. The Chandeliers were lit up and it looked amazing. Lots of lamps were hung in a beautiful pattern.






The minbar(pulpit) of the mosque is beautiful with a striking green and gold colour combination and intricate carved work. This is where the imam (the one who leads the prayers) stands and delivers the sermons or lectures.


The views from the mosque are beautiful. You get a good panoramic view of Cairo from here. Overall, an interesting visit. If you love history and architecture, you will love this place.

 

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