- The Suleiman Pasha Mosque, built in 1528, was the first mosque built in Cairo by Egypt's new rulers, the Ottomans. Suleiman Pasha was a court eunuch who rose to power and eventually became the governor of the Janissary military corps, garrisoned in the Citadel. The mosque that bears his name was built on the site of this garrison, in the northern enclosure of the Citadel.
The Suleiman Pasha Mosque looks very plain from the outside, with a squat dome and a tall, simple minaret. Inside, however, it's gorgeous – a wonderful mixture of restraint and decoration. Gilt arabesque and carved marble are beautifully offset by a fine inscription around the dome-roofed prayer hall. This intricate calligraphy from the Koran is broken up by colourful medallions containing the names of God and prominent Sunni Muslim Caliphs, all penned by the finest calligraphers of the age.
Strangely, the current entrance to the Suleiman Pasha Mosque brings you straight in to the prayer hall, so you have to go out of another door to reach the paved marble courtyard. At the west end of the courtyard is an enclosure containing a Fatimid era shrine dedicated to one of the Prophet Mohammed's companions. Within the shrine are the ornate marble tombs of various Ottoman officials.
The Suleiman Pasha Mosque is well worth the visit, as it is possibly the prettiest of all the mosques in the Citadel.
- © NileGuide2013
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