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Suleiman Pasha Mosque

Monday، 06 November 2023 - 06:57 AM
Suleiman Pasha Mosque

The Suleiman Pasha Mosque is considered the first Ottoman mosque established in Egypt. It is located next to the northern wall of Salah al-Din Citadel, in the military part of the citadel, and is known as the Sariyat al-Jabal Mosque.

The mosque replaced an old mosque that had been established in the year 535 AH - 1140 AD by Abu Mansour Qusta. Ghulam al-Muzaffar bin Amir al-Juyoush, who was the governor of Alexandria in the Fatimid era.

When the old mosque fell into ruin, Suleiman Pasha completely renovated it and rebuilt the mosque in the Ottoman style, according to which the mosques of Istanbul were established, such as the Sulaymaniyah Mosque (built in 965 AH - 1558 AD) in Istanbul.

This style is characterized by covering mosques with domes and semi-domes, providing them with pen minarets, and covering the interior walls with ceramic tiles.

The mosque was originally built for the Janissary soldiers. They are  a sect of the Ottoman armies who entered Egypt in the year 922 AH - 1517 AD with Sultan Selim, who ruled in the period "918 - 926 AH / 1512 - 1520 AD." They lived inside the northern walls of the citadel, after a large part of the castle had been demolished Al-Nasser Muhammad bin Qalawun Mosque is no longer suitable for prayer.

The main façade of the mosque is its southwestern facade, and there is a prominent entrance preceded by a stone staircase that leads to the external entrance with a circular arch.

 The minaret is located to the left of the facade. It consists of a square base with beveled corners topped by a cylindrical body surrounded by two wooden balconies, each of which rests on three rows of muqarnas.

The minaret ends with a pointed conical top in the shape of a pencil.

 The central dome of the mosque is covered with green ceramic tiles

The horizontal layout of this mosque consists of a prayer house covered by a central dome surrounded by semi-domes, and in front of it is a large open square courtyard surrounded by four corridors covered by small, low domes.

The prayer house consists of two Iwans. The first Iwan is the south-eastern qibla iwan. It is topped by a mihrab, the facade of which has a pointed arch, and is decorated with colorful marble decorations.

The upper part of the walls of this iwan contains four circular bowls containing inscriptions that include Qur’anic verses in addition to the name of the creator and the name of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

As for the second “northwestern” iwan, it has a lower marble floor than the floor of the qibla iwan.

On the southeast side of it there is a marble pulpit decorated with leafy and gilded geometric and floral decorations.

There is a door in the northeastern wall that leads to the mosque’s internal annexes, such as bathrooms and ablutions.

As for the northwestern wall opposite the qibla wall, it contains four arched niches, one of which contains a window opening, and another niche contains a door leading to the courtyard of the mosque, which precedes the prayer house from the western side.

Above this wall is the money bench, which rests on ten wooden cables.

The walls of the mosque are covered with panels of colored marble topped with an inscription band engraved in black within white marble and containing Qur’anic verses in the lush Kufic script.

This method of decoration is based on engraving decorations in marble and then filling them with a special paste of colored clay.

This decorative method appeared in the late Mamluk era.

 The central dome of the mosque, as well as the semi-domes surrounding it, were decorated with floral and inscriptional decorations in the Great Thuluth script.

 The floor of the mosque is decorated with marble decorations consisting of geometric units.

The mosque’s decorations show the continuity of Mamluk decorative traditions despite the use of the Ottoman style in its architecture

Restoration over 5 years

Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, pointed out in a press statement that work on its restoration project began in 2018, and took about 5 years at a cost of about 5 million pounds, explaining that all the work was done under the supervision of the Council’s Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish projects and antiquities sectors.

The Supreme Council for Antiquities, which included careful architectural restoration work, removing calcifications, dust, and dirt, strengthening inscriptions, strengthening and isolating wood, and performing the necessary maintenance for marble.

Structural strengthening and architectural and meticulous restoration work included treating, completing, cleaning and isolating the stone facades, the minaret, the decorative units, and the marble cladding of the mosque’s walls, in addition to treating and strengthening the mortar layers in the domes of the open courtyard, and treating the stones and archaeological domes in the shrine attached to the mosque, the decorative facades, and all the wooden elements.

The ornate writers’ shed and the bench at the top of the shed were also restored, and layers of insulation and protection were made for the decorated wooden plate using internationally known materials as the foundations of restoration, in addition to the work of installing ceramic tiles for all 23 domes of the mosque, which were reinforced to protect them before installing the ceramic tiles, in addition to completing Development of the internal lighting network for the mosque and bookstore.

The work also included restoring the shrine from the inside and outside, restoring the color decorations in the interior domes, as well as restoring the facades and cleaning them of dirt accumulated on the stones, and restoring the marble in the courtyard, the prayer house, and the unique marble pulpit.

Suleiman Pasha Mosque inaugural after its development

On September 16, 2023, Ahmed Issa, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and Major General Khaled Abdel-Al, Governor of Cairo, opened the Suleiman Pasha Al-Khadim Mosque in Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi Citadel that was  known as Sariyah al-Jabal, after the completion of its restoration project.

Al Ahmed Issa said that this mosque is part of Egypt’s cultural heritage, noting that its restoration project is one of the most important and accurate restoration projects that the ministry has succeeded in completing and opening recently, hoping that  the Egyptian and  the foreign visitors will enjoy this unique monument,  with its artistic designs and its history in particular. And the history of historical Cairo in general.

He described that the opening of the mosque is  a “major investment in the field of tourism,” as it contributes to providing a special tourist experience for Egyptian visitors and tourists from all countries of the world, in light of the state’s keenness to improve the quality of the tourist experience at Egyptian tourist destinations.

The Turkish Ambassador to Egypt, Salih Mutlu Şen, thanked the Egyptian government for opening the Suleiman Pasha Al-Khadim Mosque in the Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi Citadel that was  known as the “Mountain Mast,” after the completion of its restoration work.

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