Al-Rifa’i & Sultan Hassan Mosque

Al-Rifa’i Mosque, is located in Cairo, Egypt, in Midan al-Qal’a, adjacent to the Cairo Citadel. The building is located opposite the Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, which dates from around 1361, and was architecturally conceived as a complement to the older structure. The building itself is a melange of styles taken primarily from the Mamluk period of Egyptian history, including its dome and minaret. The building contains a large prayer hall as well as the shrines of Al-Rifa’i. The mosque is the resting place of Khushyar Hanim and her son Isma’il Pasha, as well as numerous other members of Egypt’s royal family, including King Farouk, Egypt’s last reigning king, whose body was interred here after his death in Rome in 1965.

The Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrasa (School), is considered stylistically the most compact and unified of all Cairo monuments. It is one of the masterpieces of Mamluk architecture. The building was commissioned by Sultan Hassan bin Mohammed bin Qala’oun in 1356 AD as a mosque and religious school for all four juristic branches of Sunni Islam. It was designed so that each of the four schools of thought – Shafi, Maliki, Hanafi and Hanbali – has its own area while sharing the mosque.

Construction started in 1356 AD and ended 7 years later in 1363 AD. One of the minarets collapsed during construction killing 300 people. The state was able to fund the massive structure through the properties that were left behind by the victims of the Black Death. The Sultan was assassinated before the mosque was completed and his body was never recovered. The magnificent burial chamber that was intended for him holds his two sons instead.

The facade is 76 meters long and 36 meters high. The cornices, the entrance portal, the burial chamber, and the monumental staircase are particularly noteworthy. Verses from the Quran in elegant Kufic and Thuluth scripts adorn the inner walls.

The mosque is featured on the Egyptian one-hundered pound note.

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