Egypt has unveiled a meticulously restored Ottoman mosque nestled within Cairo’s iconic citadel, a structure that has dominated the city’s skyline for centuries. This historic mosque, boasting 22 green-tiled domes and a minbar adorned with renowned Iznik tiles, stands as Cairo’s earliest Ottoman mosque, dating back to 1528 A.D. It was constructed just eleven years after Sultan Selim led the Ottoman army to conquer Egypt from the Mamluk empire.
Spanning an area of 2,360 square meters, the mosque complex is situated on the grounds of the Fatimid-era tomb of Sayed Sariya, originally built in 1140 A.D. and still standing today. Mostafa Waziri, the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, noted a distinctive feature of Ottoman mosques, saying, “To distinguish the Ottoman mosques, the minaret is usually pencil-shaped.” The mosque complex encompasses the prayer area, the vicinity, the Fatimid cemetery, and the Kuttab (Qur’an school).
Known as the Suleyman Pasha Al-Khadim mosque or the Sariya mosque, this architectural gem resides within Cairo’s citadel. The citadel, initially constructed by Muslim general Salah Al-Din following his conquest of Cairo from the Fatimids, holds historical significance. A few years later, Salah Al-Din achieved another milestone by capturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders.
The meticulous restoration of this mosque spanned five years and was overseen by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in collaboration with the military’s Arab Organization for Industrialization.
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