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Citadel: Mohammed Ali Mosque
Citadel Historic Complex
Salah Salem Highway
+20 (0)2 391 3454 (Tourist Information)
The Mohammed Ali Mosque was built over a period of about 20 years in the early part of the 19th Century, and was completed in 1848, though its domes had to be entirely rebuilt during the 1930's. Also known as the Alabaster Mosque, the Mohammed Ali Mosque was built in the classical Ottoman style, and its huge domes and soaring minarets are the most famous landmark of Cairo's skyline. It is not, however, particularly graceful from up close, and it has received a lot of criticism. It has even been likened to a fat cat and a huge toad! The interior of the Mohammed Ali Mosque is grand, bordering on garish: great chandeliers illuminate the huge, domed space, and cast light on the technicolour marble walls. There is colourful, gilded wood and gold in abundance. No matter what you think of its artistic, the Mosque of Mohammed Ali is undeniably spectacular! The great man himself is buried in an ornate, white marble tomb to the right of the entrance. The courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque is also interesting: there is an elaborately decorated marble fountain with carved wooden roof in the centre of the huge, square courtyard. At the west of the courtyard is a large iron clock that was given to Mohammed Ali by King Louis-Philippe of France, as a thankyou for the ancient Egyptian obelisk that stands in Place de la Concorde in Paris. The clock has never worked!