One of my guide books describes this mosque with it's Ottoman style and soaring interior space as a grand gesture meant to echo the great Imperial mosques of the Ottoman Empire. Smaller and not as elegant as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Alabaster Mosque is nonetheless splendid. Built between 1830 and 1848 by Mohammed Ali Pasha, generally considered to the be the founder of modern Egypt, the mosque has become an international symbol of Cairo.
Entry to the mosque is part of the admission price of a ticket to see The Citadel - 50 Egyptian pounds. It is reached via a series of stairs that wind up to the main court in front of the mosque. Entry is at the back where everybody removes their shoes and women cover their heads. At this mosque, you carry your shoes because you exit at the other side from where you enter. Remember that you always carry your shoes with the soles held together. It is considered offensive to reveal the soles of your shoes.
The court is quite beautiful and open and is dominated by an ornate clock which was given to Egypt in exchange for an obelisk that still stands in the Place de la Concorde. The timepiece has never worked. The interior of the mosque is richly decorated with wonderful red carpet and many crystal chandliers. On the day of my visit it wasn't crowded. Once here, make certain that you visit the two mosques below the Citadel - Mosque of Sultan Hassan and Mosque of al-Rafai. Both are older and even more interesting. Take a cab as the walk is hot and dusty.
Make sure to visit the palace across the court, the Mosque of Suleiman Pasha, and the Carriage Museum while you are in the Citadel.
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