Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan: A Mamluk Masterpiece

Situated at Midan Salah ad-Din and constructed between 1356 and 1363, the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan is a jewel of Mamluk architecture, celebrated as one of the most magnificent edifices of its time. The mosque’s foundation was laid under the reign of Sultan Qalaun, a ruler who ascended to power at the tender age of 13. His reign was marked by turbulence, with multiple overthrows and restorations, until his untimely assassination before the mosque’s completion.

The construction of the mosque itself is steeped in tragic history; a minaret collapse during its building claimed the lives of 300 onlookers. Despite this somber past, the mosque stands today as a testament to architectural grandeur. Its entrance, both attractive and intricately designed, leads to a corridor culminating in four domed halls, known as Iwans. Each Iwan is dedicated to one of the four major schools of Sunni Islam, symbolizing a confluence of Islamic scholarly traditions.

In the eastern Iwan lies an exquisitely crafted Mihrab, flanked by columns reportedly appropriated from the Crusaders. The Sultan’s private chambers are accessible through an ornate bronze door, adding to the mosque’s historical allure.

Adjacent to the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan is another architectural marvel, the Mosque Ar-Rifai. Constructed over an extensive period from 1869 to 1912, it houses the tombs of notable figures such as Khedive Ismail, King Farouk, and other members of modern Egyptian royalty, including the last Shah of Iran. These final resting places, located to the left of the mosque’s entrance, offer a poignant reminder of Egypt’s rich and complex history.

The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan is more than a religious site; it’s a historical narrative etched in stone, inviting visitors to step back in time and experience the grandeur of the Mamluk era.

Created On May 4, 2020

Updated On January 26, 2024

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