The Alabaster Mosk Mohamed Aly
Published: Lichtenstern & Harari 1902-1912
The mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha is one of the most renowned historical and touristic landmarks in Egypt. The design for this mosque was derived from the Mosque of Sultan Ahmad in Istanbul (built AH 1025/AD 1616). Construction of the mosque began in AH 1246/AD 1830 and work continued on it, without interruption, until the death of Muhammad Ali Pasha in AH 1265/AD 1848. He was buried in a tomb that he had prepared for himself within the mosque in the southwestern corner. Construction of the walls, domes and minaret had been completed by the time of Ali Pasha’s death, and when ‘Abbas Pasha I assumed power (r. AH 1265–70/AD 1848–54), he ordered the completion of work on the marble, carvings and the gilding, and added a marble construction and a copper maqsura for Ali Pasha’s mausoleum.
Museum With No Frontiers: Discover Islamic Art
The mosque of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha was built between 1828 and 1848. Perched on the summit of the citadel, this Ottoman mosque, the largest to be built in the first half of the 19th c., is, with its animated silhouette and twin minarets, the most visible mosque in Cairo. It is built on the site of Mamluk palaces destroyed at the behest of the patron, an act reminiscent of that of Saladin who wiped out all traces of Fatimid power by dismantling their palaces, and it also superseded the adjacent Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad as the new state mosque. This first independent ruler of Egypt chose to build his state mosque entirely in the architectural style of his former overlords, the Ottomans, unlike the Mamluks who, despite their political submission to the Ottomans, tenaciously stuck to the architectural styles of the two Mamluk dynasties.
No. 418 Cairo: Interior of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, built in 1830-1848. It is richly decorated and its walls are encrusted with alabaster from the quarries of Beni Suef.
Published: Eastern Publishing Company, Cairo