The Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo, 2017

One of the most notable buildings in Cairo – perhaps THE most notable – is the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha located in The Citadel.  It was built primarily between 1830 and 1848, and though located in Egypt, it was built in the Turkish Ottoman style.
For those who don’t know, the Muhammad Ali for which this mosque is named is not the American boxer originally named Cassius Clay, but rather the 19th Century Ottoman ruler of Egypt who was born in Greece to an Albanian family.  He is considered to be the founder of modern Egypt and had the mosque built in memory of his deceased eldest son.

I visited this grand building on my trip to Egypt in 2017.  While most people visit Egypt to see its famed antiquities, this seems to be the one relatively modern building that people are taken to see – and deservedly so.
It is an elegant building, made of limestone but also with alabaster in its lower reaches, with beautiful columns and very fine metalwork.   Cairo has some of the finest Islamic buildings in the world (several of which I visited and photographed on my trip to Egypt in 2018), and while this particular mosque was not built in the native Egyptian style, it is nonetheless a site to be see and admired.

To follow up on Muhammad Ali, when I was in Alexandria, Egypt, last year, the hotel room two doors down from mine had a plaque on it, as some doors did, to indicate a famous former occupant.  The name on the plaque was “Muhammad Ali Clay.”  I guess that’s one way to distinguish the older one from the newer one.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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