Sultan Hasan Mosque Description

On the west side of the Midan Mohammed Ali is the Sultan Hasan Mosque, built in 1356-63, perhaps by a Syrian architect, for the Mameluke Sultan Hasan el-Nasir. Situated on a shelving rock below the Citadel, it is perhaps the finest example of Arab-Egyptian architecture. The exterior, with its large areas of stone, is reminiscent of an ancient Egyptian temple. The facades are crowned by a boldly projecting stalactitic cornice, the pinnacles of which have been restored. The wide wall surfaces are relieved by blind niches and twin round arched windows. The mausoleum which projects from the southeast front is roofed with 180ft/ 55m high dome of Arab-Turkish type (rebuilt in 18th C.). The massive main doorway at the north corner is almost 85ft/26m high; and the minaret at the south corner is the tallest in Cairo (267ft/81.5m). The ground plan is in the form of an irregular Pentagon covering an area of 9,450 sq yd/7,900 sq. m, into which the crucifer shape of the original medrese has bee very skillfully incorporated.

Islamic site or artifact collection

Sultan Hasan Mosque Highlights

Sultan Hasan Mosque - Main Doorway

The main doorway (the bronze door from which is now in the Muayyad Mosque) leads into a domed vestibule, beyond which are a small antechamber and a corridor leading into the open Court (Sahn; 115ft/35m by 105ft/32m), with a fountain for ablutions (hanaflya).

Sultan Hasan Mosque - Prayer Niche

The rear wall with the prayer niche is richly ornamented with marble.

Sultan Hasan Mosque - Sultan's Mausoleum

To the right of the pulpit is a bronze door with gold and silver inlays. The iron door to the left of the pulpit leads into the Sultan's Mausoleum, a square domed chamber measuring 69ft/21m each way and 92ft/28m in height. The stalactitic pendentives of the original dome still survive. In the center of the chamber is the simple sarcophagus.

Sultan Hasan Mosque Dikka

Of the once sumptuous furnishings there remain only the dikka (a podium for the assistant officiants), the pulpit and the chains for the many hanging lamps; the lamps themselves are now in the Museum of Islamic Art.

Sultan Hasan Mosque Liwans

The four liwans, with lofty barrel roofs, are all used as prayer rooms; the teaching rooms are in the four small medreses. The principal liwan has a carved stucco frieze in Kufic lettering on a background of intricate arabesques.