Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque – The Great Mosque In Cairo, Egypt
The great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque, is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo in Egypt and commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848. It situated on the summit of the citadel. The mosque was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali’s oldest son, who died in 1816. It is the largest mosque built in first half of the 19th century, with its animated silhouette and twin minarets, the most visible mosque in Cairo.
This great mosque, along with the citadel, is one of the landmarks and tourist point of Cairo and is one of the first features to be seen when approaching the city from no matter which side.. The ground on which the mosque was erected was built with debris from the earlier buildings of the Citadel.
Muhammad Ali Pasha was buried in a tomb carved from Carrara marble, in the courtyard of the mosque. His body was transferred here from Hawsh al-Basha in 1857.Muhammad Ali 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, stuck to the architectural styles of the previous Mamluk dynasties.
The mosque was built with a central dome surrounded by four small and four semicircular domes. The central dome is 21 meters in diameter and the height of the building is 52 meters. Two elegant cylindrical minarets of Turkish type with two balconies and conical caps are situated on the western side of the mosque, and rise to 82 meters. The external facades are severe and angular and raise about four storeys until the level of the lead-covered domes. The main material is limestone but the lower storey and forecourt is tiled with alabaster up to 11.3 meters.