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Citadel: An-Nasir Mohammed Mosque
Salah Salem Highway
11211 Cairo, Egypt
The an-Nasir Mohammed Mosque is the oldest of the three mosques in the Citadel
. It's a Mamluk mosque, built by an-Nasir Mohammed in 1318, and then re-built in 1335. The an-Nasir Mohammed Mosque used to be the royal mosque of Cairo, where the sultans would pray, and would have been one of the most magnificent in the city. However, its original dome collapsed some time in the 16th Century, and the Ottomans stripped the mosque of much of its marble.
Nowadays, although an-Nasir Mohammed Mosque has been restored, it still feels rather austere. The courtyard and the mihrab are very simple, although the interior of the mosque does have a row of unusual, arched windows.
The most interesting thing about an-Nasir Mohammed Mosque is the minarets. The minaret to the north, which would have faced the dwellings of the officers and soldiers garrisoned in the Citadel
, is very plain. The minaret to the west, however, faced the Sultan's residences. It's elegantly carved in a zigzag pattern, and has a tip that is unique in Cairo: a small dome resting on a solid, tapered stone column, that looks a bit like a king's sceptre. It's decorated with blue, green and white glazed tiles, that are known as faience mosaics, and were popular in Persia at the time.