Ornate dome inside the Mohammed Ali Mosque
Where We Be
Sitting cross-legged on the Persian carpets at the Mohammed Ali Mosque
The Mohammed Ali Mosque is located inside the Saladin Citadel, an imposing medieval fortress
Cairo, Egypt -- Coptic & Islamic Cairo
The Citadel is an enormous walled complex that
served as home to Egypt's rulers from the
1100s to the 1900s. It's the heart of Islamic
Cairo. Its imposing stone walls and turrets are
those of a medieval castle built to withstand a
siege. Inside the Citadel is the enormous
Mohammed Ali Mosque, built in the 1800s. Also
called the Alabaster Mosque, it is based on the
Aya Sofya in Istanbul and is quite lovely, though
it's considered inferior to the original in terms
of its details. It's the first mosque we've ever
been in, and we're impressed by the Persian
carpets on the floor, the hanging lights above
our heads, and the towering domes much
higher above.

We take our shoes off before entering and lay
them next to a pillar before sitting down on the
Persian carpets. Groups of seated people are
scattered across the carpets throughout the
mosque in convivial little groups. Our guide
Sally gives us a short history of Islam in Egypt,
then we stroll to the mosque’s terrace, where
we get a stunning view of Cairo spread out
below us. It's a clear day and we can see the
Pyramids of Giza standing amidst all the modern
buildings of Cairo, a fantastic contrast.
Mohammed Ali Mosque is set on a hill, and its domes and towering minarets are visible throughout Cairo
The green dome of Al-Nasir Mohammed Mosque peeks up from behind a wall within the Citadel
Robin with our wonderful Cairo guide Sally
Geometrically patterned decorations and flowing Arabic script inside the Mohammed Ali Mosque
This is the famous clock tower in the courtyard of the mosque -- a gift from France. Egypt in return
gave one of the obelisks from Luxor Temple which now stands in Place de la Condorde in Paris.
Standing in front of the Coptic Hanging Church. We like the inverted ark-shaped roof of the Hanging Church and its
geometric designs. Coptic (Christian) Cairo is the oldest part of Cairo still in existence and thus is also called Old Cairo.
We also visit the round Greek Orthodox Church
of St. George (the dragon slayer) in Coptic Cairo
The Hanging Church was built on top of the southern tower gate
of the old Roman fortress, with its nave suspended above the ground