It’s extremely rare when a construction can achieve the perfect combination of majesty and beauty but for Muhammad Ali mosque a.k.a "The Alabaster Mosque", it was quite an easy task. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful constructions in the city that never sleeps, located in Cairo Citadel and was constructed by the ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848 AD at the beginning of the Egyptian Renaissance to be a house of worship and his final resting place. Muhammad Ali Mosque one of top Cairo tourist attractions that you can't miss during your Egypt tour packages.
When he took power in Cairo in 1800, he reshaped the citadel’s design to fit his own vision. He ordered an architect by the name Yusuf Bushnaq to construct a mosque similar to sultan Ahmad mosque in Istanbul, it took 18 years to build and was restored by King Fuad in 1931 and again in 1939 by King Farouk with the total cost of 100,000 LE (about $560.00 USD). Muhammad Ali is buried in a tomb made of Carrara marble located in the courtyard of the mosque on the right side of one of the three entrances behind a bronze grill. Muhammad Ali built the mosque with two minarets to defy the Ottoman Empire as the law prohibited anyone except the sultan from constructing a mosque with more than two minarets to which indicated his desire to free himself from the Ottoman rule which shows it wasn’t a mere house of worship but a call for freedom which makes it an important historical landmark.
The extensive use of marble on the exterior & interior walls. The mosque was able to reach the peak of elegant architecture as it depended on the Ottoman style of architecture and the interior depended on some French rococo influences with mesmerizing finishes of ornate of red, green and gold. It was built in a square plan measuring 41x41 m and with a breathtaking central dome surrounded by four small semicircular domes and divided into two sections.
The main material used in construction is Limestone, but the forecourt is covered with Alabaster and the inner and outer walls are covered with shining marble. It also contains a breathtaking golden-scalloped mihrab and two majestic minarets that reach the height of 82 meters, made of alabaster and decorated in Nouveau style. It also contains a central dome which is 21 meters in diameter and the height of 52 meters, rises on four arches and around it are four smaller domes decorate in religious medallions.
In the courtyard which is about 54 m in length and 53 m in width, surrounded by a single arched Riwaq, and showcases naves raised on pillars and roofed with small domes, is an ornate brass clock given by King Louis Philippe of France to Muhammad Ali in 1845in exchange of the obelisk which is now standing in the Concorde square in Paris and a Turkish ablutions fountain that looks like a giant Easter egg.
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