It is possible to stand out in Cairo a few varied destinations that are principal to whom it thinks to visit Egypt. The attractions of Cairo are different for the difference of the civilizations that were in his history. You can find the pharaonic civilization in the pyramids, the Christian culture in the churches and the Coptic Cairo, and also the architecture and Islamic art in the mosques and Islamic Cairo.
Cairo is known as “the city of a thousand minarets” because many mosques were built since the Muslim Arabs came to Egypt. In some mosques, you can see a mixture of different arts. One of the big and famous mosques in Cairo is the Al-Refai Mosque. This Mosque is the best destination for those who want to enjoy Islamic architecture.
The History of Al-Refai Mosque
It was built between 1869 and 1912. In 1869 khoshiar (the mother of Ismael Pacha) ordered the construction of a mosque as a mausoleum for the royal family. Engineer Hussien Fahmy Pacha put the plan and design of the Mosque but died during the construction of the first stage of the Mosque.
In 1881 the construction was stopped to change some designs. After Khoshiar died in 1885, the construction was suspended. Khoshiar Hanem was buried in the Mosque. After 25 years Governor Abbas II ordered Hatz Pacha to complete the construction of the Mosque. In 1912 the Mosque was opened to the public.
The Construction of Al-Refai Mosque
It was built in the Plaza de la Ciudadela (the Citadel of Saladin). It is in front of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan (14th century). The construction of the Mosque took 43 years. The original idea of the Mosque was that it expanded the Zawya of Al-Refai (Islamic religious school) and built a mosque similar to the Mosque of Sultan Hassan to be a mausoleum of the royal family.
The Mosque has several doors but the main entrance on the west side is under a dome decorated with gold. After the main entrance is the tombs of Abu Shebak and Ali Al-Ansari. The doors and windows are decorated with gold and wood ornaments. The walls are made of marble with colors from 7 different countries. The ceiling is high and cavernous. There are almost 44 pillars decorated with verses of the Golden Quran.
About Al-Refai Mosque
The Mosque is known as “The Royal Mosque”. The Mosque is rectangular almost 6500 m2 around a dome. Almost 1700 m2 is dedicated to prayer and the rest has mausoleums. Although the Mosque is named after Ahmed Al-Refai, he was not buried there but one of his family “Abu Shebak” was buried in the Mosque. There is also the mausoleum of the last Shah of Iran “Muhammad Reda” and several members of the royal family like King Faruk, King Fuad I, and Princess Farida.
Visit the Cairo Attractions
If you are in Cairo and want to take a tour in Cairo, you can check out our tours in Cairo. You can also explore other tourist destinations in Egypt, check out our Egypt travel packages or Nile cruise, and choose your dream trip.