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Photographer's Note

Completed in 1848, the Ottoman-style Muhammad 'Ali Mosque or Alabaster Mosque is the most noticeable in all of Cairo; for more than 150 years it has dominated the skyline.

When the Ottoman Muhammad 'Ali assumed power of Cairo in the 1800s he had all the Mamluk buildings of the Citadel razed and the complex entirely rebuilt. The Citadel's appearance today is the vision of Muhammad 'Ali, particularly the mosque that bears his name. It was built between 1824 and 1848; the domes had to be rebuilt in the 1930s.

Ottoman law prohibited anyone but the sultan from building a mosque with more than one minaret, but this mosque has two minarets. This was one of Muhammad 'Ali's first indications that he did not intend to remain submissive to Istanbul.

The mosque is classically Turkish in style, reflecting its Ottoman origins. The cascading domes, slender minarets, constellation of hanging globe lamps, richly decorated ceiling and spacious interior all recall the great mosques of Istanbul.

The interior also reflects some French rococo influences, and is finished with ornate lines of red, green, and gold. There is a gold-scalloped mihrab and two minbars (pulpits): one faced in alabaster and the other, unusually, in the Art Nouveau style.

Muhammad Ali is buried beneath a white marble monument on the right of the entrance behind a bronze grill.

In the courtyard is an ornate clock given by Louis Philippe in exchange for the obelisk that stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It has never worked.

Reference: Sacred Destinations

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Additional Photos by Chris Chafer (sandpiper) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 767 W: 87 N: 1198] (6788)
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