Egypt unveils newly restored Ottoman mosque at Cairo citadel

Egypt has officially opened a recently restored Ottoman mosque, originally constructed by the 16th-century governor Suleyman Pasha al-Khadim, located within the historic citadel that has been a prominent feature of Cairo’s skyline for centuries.

This mosque, boasting 22 green-tiled domes and a minbar (prayer niche) adorned with renowned Iznik tiles, holds the distinction of being Cairo’s earliest Ottoman mosque. It was constructed in 1528 A.D., just eleven years after the Ottoman army, led by Sultan Selim, seized control of Egypt from the Mamluk empire.

The mosque complex, covering an area of 2,360 square meters, is situated on the grounds of the Fatimid-era tomb of Sayed Sariya, which was constructed in 1140 A.D. and still stands to this day.

“To distinguish the Ottoman mosques, the minaret is usually pencil-shaped,” said Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. “The mosque consists of the prayer area, the vicinity, the Fatimid cemetery and the Kuttab (Quran school).”

The mosque, alternatively referred to as the Suleyman Pasha al-Khadim Mosque and the Sariya Mosque, is situated within Cairo’s citadel. The citadel itself was constructed by the Muslim military leader Salah al-Din following his capture of Cairo from the Fatimids. Several years later, Salah al-Din went on to seize Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

The restoration project, overseen by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation within the military, spanned five years to complete.

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