Cairo , Egypt

Mosque-Sabil of Sulayman Agha al-Silahdar

Haret Beregwan, El-Gamaleya, El Gamaliya, Cairo Governorate

The architectural complex of Prince Sulayman Agha Al-Silahdar is located in Al-Mu’izz Street. Prince Sulayman Agha Al-Silahdar, one of Muhammad Ali Pasha’s sons, established it in 1255 AH / 1839 AD. He came to Egypt as a young man. He steadily rose in rank until he took over the Salhadaria, a charge over weaponry. Through this architectural complex, he was able to secure a place for himself among the great kings. His architectural complex includes a Sabil (drinking fountain), a Kuttab (school), and a mosque unparalleled in Islamic architecture.

The most visible characteristic of the building is its stone façade with floral motifs. It reflects the influence of European Renaissance art, with its marble decorations and oil paintings on the wooden ceilings in an Ottoman style influenced by contemporary European arts. The mosque’s minaret can be seen from the beginning of Al-Mu’izz Street. It is characteristic of the Ottoman “pencil” minarets. The Sabil also includes basins for street animals to drink as a manifestation of benevolence.

The mosque consists of a rectangle divided into two sections. The western section contains sanctuary area of the mosque and a sahn which is surrounded by a four-sided hallway covered by small domes built on marble pillars. Each dome is decorated with multicolored oil paintings with floral and geometric patterns and Qur'anic inscriptions. The sahn is covered by wooden roof with a center opening for ventilation, lighting and protection of the mosque from rain. The eastern section contains a prayer room and consists of two pillars, each of which contains two marble columns. The two sections divide the place of prayer into three corridors parallel to the qibla wall. The place of prayer is covered by a wooden ceiling decorated with multicolored oil paintings. The qibla wall is in the prayer room and marble mihrab can be found on the center of it.

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