Cairo’s Alabaster Mosque dominates the skyline of the largest city in Africa. The imposing building is situated in the middle of the Citadel, a prominent fortress that was built in the 19th century.
In 1830, Egyptian King Mohammad Ali Pasha ordered the construction of a mosque to strict Ottoman design. It is no accident that the external appearance of the Mosque is similar to that of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The minarets of the Alabaster Mosque rise 84 metres into the sky and have become an integral part of Cairo’s silhouette.
The impressive interior of the building is illuminated by an enormous chandelier, a gift from the French King, Louis Philippe The Fifth. Today, the light of the original 365 oil lamps is powered by electricity, yet the great building still possesses a sublime atmosphere. The brilliance of the light augments the dimensions of the mosque to a breathtaking degree and the ceiling of the great prayer hall is over fifty metres high.
Beneath the central cupola is the dignified tomb of King Mohammed Ali. The royal casket is made of the finest Italian marble and is decorated with Turkish motifs.
Today, the Alabaster Mosque is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Egyptian Islamic-Ottoman architecture of the 19th century. It has lost none of its former shining magnificence.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.