Tourists will love going to the Mosque of Muhammad Ali (also known as the Alabaster Mosque) because it is where tourists will feel like they've stepped into another time. The impressive size and beautiful decorations make it worth the Visit. The main prayer hall can accommodate up to 4,000 worshippers and is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows and marble floors. But the mosque's location genuinely sets it apart from other mosques worldwide. Situated atop a hill in Cairo, the mosque offers stunning views of the city below.
This guide will cover the history, architecture and layout of the mosque. It will also try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting the site, such as: Why the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is a must-see for tourists?, When is the best time to visit?, Best tips for visiting the mosque?, and more...
You'll be struck by its opulent interior as soon as you enter the mosque. The main prayer hall is adorned with intricate Islamic calligraphy, beautifully carved marble, and stunning chandeliers. Visitors are also often surprised by the size of the main entrance; at nearly 9,000 square feet, it can accommodate up to 4,000 worshippers at a time!
Inside the mosque's main prayer hall is the tomb of Muhammad Ali Pasha, who was the ruler of Egypt from 1805 until he died in 1849. A well-known figure in Egyptian history, Ali Pasha, was responsible for modernizing many aspects of Egyptian society and is credited with helping to establish Egypt as a leading force in the Middle East. Today, his tomb is one of the most popular attractions at the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
Upon entering the mosque, you'll find yourself in a large courtyard of the mosque surrounded by imposing arched colonnades. This central courtyard is where worshipers gather for Friday prayers and other special occasions. Take some time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and take in the intricate details of the architecture.
This area is where worshippers come to pray and perform their religious rituals. It is also home to a large marble mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca for prayer. The walls are decorated with intricate Islamic calligraphy and geometric designs, while large stained glass windows provide natural light during prayer times.
A central dome surrounded by four smaller, semicircular domes was used in the construction of the mosque. It had a square design and was 41 meters by 41 meters in size. The building's height is 52 meters, and the central dome has a diameter of 21 meters. On the western side of the mosque, two beautiful Turkish-style conical minarets with two balconies and 82-meter heights can be seen.
The use of this architectural style, along with the inclusion of two minarets and numerous half-domes encircling the main dome -- features only found on mosques constructed under the Sultan's authority -- were a defiant declaration of de facto Egyptian independence.
Serves as an area for teaching and learning about Islam. Here, scholars can study Islamic texts and learn about Islamic history and culture. The walls are decorated with colorful tiles depicting scenes from Islamic history, while large windows provide natural light during lectures or classes.
Unlike the Mamluks, who, despite their political submission to the Ottomans, kept to the architectural traditions of the preceding Mamluk dynasties, Muhammad Ali chose to build his state mosque wholly in the architectural style of his former overlords, the Ottomans.
A central dome surrounded by four smaller, semicircular domes were used in the mosque's construction. It had a square design and was 41 meters by 41 meters in size. The building's height is 52 meters, and the central dome has a diameter of 21 meter high. On the western side of the mosque, two beautiful Turkish types with two balconies and 82-meter heights may be seen.
The use of this style and the presence of two minarets and multiple half-domes surrounding the central dome -- features reserved for mosques built under the Sultan's authority -- was a defiant declaration of Egyptian independence.
The Alabaster Mosque sometimes referred to as the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, is a mosque in Cairo, Egypt's Citadel. The mosque, one of the biggest Ottoman mosques to be built in the first part of the 19th century, was commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848. The mosque was constructed in honour of Muhammad Ali's eldest son, Tusun Pasha, who passed away in 1816. The mosque was built in Cairo's Citadel on the location of previous Mamluk structures, although it wasn't finished until Said Pasha's rule in 1857. The mosque is one of the most recognizable mosques in Cairo because of its lively silhouette and twin minarets on the Citadel's peak. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul served as the architect's basis for this structure. Debris from the earlier forms of the Citadel was used to construct the foundation upon which the mosque was built. The Great Mosque of Mohammad Ali is called the Alabaster Mosque because its walls are covered with alabaster panels.
The stripped walls were covered with wood painted to resemble marble before the mosque was finished; the upper walls' alabaster panels were removed and utilized in Abbas I's palaces. In 1899, the mosque began to show signs of cracking, and some shoddy repairs were made. The condition of the mosque became so dangerous that a complete scheme of restoration was ordered by King Fuad in 1931 and was finally completed under King Farouk in 1939. Muhammad Ali Pasha was laid to rest in a Carrara marble tomb in the mosque's courtyard. In 1857, his remains were brought here from Hosh al-Basha.
The Egyptian government has significantly improved security in Cairo in recent years. The number of police and soldiers on the streets has increased, and tourist should not hesitate to ask for help if they feel unsafe. Using common sense when travelling to any new country is always important. Be aware of your surroundings, don't flash large amounts of cash or valuables, and don't leave your belongings unguarded in public places.
The mosque is very secure, with security guards stationed at all entrances. Visitors must pass through a metal detector and have their bags searched before entering. Inside the mosque, CCTV cameras are monitoring all areas.
Getting to the Mosque of Muhammad Ali can be done by several different methods.
The most convenient way to get there is by taking a taxi or ride-sharing service from any point in Cairo. This will take you directly to the mosque and it will cost around 10-15 Egyptian pounds (EGP). Alternatively, you can take public transportation such as buses or microbuses which will cost around 2-3 EGP per person.
If you are coming from outside Cairo, you can take a train from Alexandria or Giza to Ramses Station which is located near the mosque. From there, you can take a taxi to your destination. You can also take an intercity bus from other cities in Egypt such as Luxor or Aswan which will drop you off at Ramses Station as well.
Ramadan- is the month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The mosque is stunning during this time as it is lit up at night with lanterns. If you are not Muslim, you can still visit the mosque during Ramadan, but be respectful and do not enter during prayer times.
Eid al-Adha- is a holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan. It is also a time when many people make pilgrimages to Mecca. The mosque is open to non-Muslims during this time and it is a great time to visit as it will be less crowded than usual.
Hajj season- is a busy time at the mosque as many people come to Cairo to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. The mosque will be very crowded during this time, but if you are interested in seeing it at its busiest, this is the time to visit.
The History Buff
If you're the type who loves learning about different cultures and times gone by, then a visit to the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is a must. This mosque was built in the early 1800s by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt at that time. The mosque was designed in the Ottoman style of architecture, which was very popular among Muslim rulers during that era. Not only is the mosque itself an excellent example of this type of architecture, but it also houses numerous historical artefacts within its walls. If you're interested in learning more about Egyptian history, visiting this mosque will surely be a highlight of your trip.
The Religious Tourist
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is one of the largest mosques in Cairo and can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers at any given time. If you want to experience authentic Islamic culture during your travels, then this mosque is definitely worth visiting. Even if you're not Muslim, you're sure to appreciate this holy place's peaceful atmosphere and stunning architecture. Just be sure to dress modestly (covering your shoulders and knees) and remove your shoes before entering; otherwise, you may not be allowed in.
The Architecture Lover
Even if you're not particularly interested in history or religion, you're sure to appreciate the beauty of this mosque. The outside walls are covered in intricate patterns and designs, while inside, you'll find an elaborately painted ceiling and beautiful chandeliers hanging from the roof. Whether you're an architectural enthusiast or just someone who enjoys gazing at beautiful buildings, visiting this mosque will no doubt be a highlight of your time in Cairo.
Admission to the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is included in the admission ticket to the Citadel, which costs 180 EGP (about $12) or 90 EGP (about $6) for students. However, guests are required to dress modestly to enter the premises. It means that women must cover their heads and shoulders, and men must wear long pants. Photography is allowed inside the mosque, but visitors are asked to be respectful and not use flash photography.
The mosque is open daily from 9 am-5 pm. However, access to the main prayer hall is only permitted during certain hours:
Overall, whether you're interested in Moorish architecture or simply looking for a beautiful place to visit while in Cairo, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali should definitely be on your list.
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