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Al Rifai Mosque

Al Rifai Mosque - Tours from Hurghada

What Acquired Al Rifai Mosque Its Reputation?

Al Rifai Mosque has gained the reputation of being the royal mosque! As the mosque was constructed by an order from Queen Khushyar Hanim, the mother of Khedive Isma’il Pasha in 1869 A.D! It was built to replace the Zawiya of Al-Rifa’I, which was a small mosque unworthy to carry the name! The mosque comes with an even more massive and extravagant shape resembling the Mosque of Sultan Hassan in magnitude and height to be fit as a mausoleum for the royal family of Egypt! It also holds the descents of Mohamed Ali and a prayer house for the Sufi relics.

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Al Rifai Mosque Location

Al Rifai Mosque map presenting it situated in El-Refaey, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate. And for good measure, it’s located in Midan Al-Qal’a in Cairo next to the glorious Cairo Citadel and across the road from the Sultan Hassan Mosque.

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The Construction Process of the Al Rifai Mosque

The mosque was built on a 6,500 SQ, and began construction in 1868! However, the mosque was put on hold in 1880 until khedive Abbas Hilmi II resumed work in 1905! Therefore, he entrusted a Hungarian architect called Max Herz Bey, who was responsible for the Conservation of Arab Monuments Committee in Cairo, to complete the mosque. Herz was aided by an Italian architect called Carlo Virgilio Silvagni! Further, he was advised by 'Ali Pasha Mubarak who was the Minister of Public Works under Khedive Isma'il! The mosque finally was completed in 1912.

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More About Al Rifai Mosque’s History

The history of Al Rifai Mosque introduces it as being established over two stages in a period of time starting from 1869 to 1912 when the mosque’s building process finally came to a wrap! It was found as a replacement for Ahmed El Rifai, one of the pious Muslim figures in the Medieval Ages’ cemetery during the nineteenth century! 

The cemetery was frequented by both sides, the locals and newcomers, for the alleged healing purposes it’s used for! Hence, the shrine’s purpose swung back and forth throughout its construction period! Between the assumed and realistic purposes behind the building of the mosque is Hoshiyar’s purpose of building it as a home to oriental Sufi presentations as well as a mausoleum for the Egyptian royal family!

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The Architecture of the Al Rifai Mosque

Al Rifai Mosque has a combination of architectural styles based on the Mamluk Period. The exterior of the Al Rifai Mosque is decorated with two beautiful minarets on both sides of the main entrance. The interior of the Al Rifai Mosque consists of two sections divided as the following:

The First Section of Al Rifai Mosque Interior

The first section of the mosque's interiors is the house of worship. It contains the Quibla iwan which was designed based on a basilican style! It also has three Riwaqs circled by four marble piers supporting the pointed arches while the ceiling was made from golden-colored wood decorations. The Mihrab is cased with colored marble together with golden decorations and is located at the center of the Qibla wall. The Minbar is made of wood and decorated with ebony in addition to ivory all the while being located on the right side of the mihrab.

The Second Section of Al Rifai Mosque Interior 

The second section of the interior is the tombs of the royal family. As the mosque holds three domes of Khedive Ismail, his mother, his wives, and his sons as well as daughters. The mosque contains the remains of Ismail, King Fouad, and Farouk (the last king of Egypt)! Furthermore, it has the last Shah of Iran, who was married to one of Farouk’s sisters' princess Fawzia and contains two mausoleums for Sheik Yehia Al-Ansari and Ali Abu-Shebak.

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Al Rifai Mosque’s Two Most Prominent Façades 

The façade of Al Rifai Mosque, Cairo, is the most unique ever when it comes to Islam archeological presentations! Though, the mosque was not given such credit out of nowhere! Truth be told, the southern façade of the mosque is the one with the most interesting views in comparison to the others! Mirroring Sultan Hassan Mosque towards the South, Al Rifai Mosque must have doubled the gracious effect that Old Cairo has on travelers! 

With only a fewer-than-10-meter distance away from Sultan Ali Mosque, the southern façade feels like visiting two sites at the same time! Whereas the southern part is opposite Sultan Hassan Mosque, Al Rifai Mosque’s western façade is prominent for overlooking its square, making western façade more than worth the title of “Al Rifai Mosque Fundamental Façade”! The mosque can be seen from different lenses, some can consider its holy celestial value the most, while others invest most of their attention in the mosque’s design on the outside!

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The Importance of the Al Rifai Mosque in Egypt’s Tourism

Al Rifai Mosque being close to holding Sultan Hassan Mosque in its embrace, you’ll get to tour two of the most insanely glorious sites in Cairo with just one ticket for both as more indication of the two sites paired together! On a bigger image, Al Rifai Mosque can be always explored as a part of one package that’ll get an invisible cloud of peace to float around you all throughout your visit! It’s a package wherein the mosque is combined with the other Alabaster and Ahmed Ibn Tulun mosque together with Cairo Citadel in a perfect trip!

Even more, it can come as a part of a visit to the Coptic and Islamic Cairo in a peaceful atmosphere! The last-mentioned visit offers an exploration into Old Cairo’s tiptoes holy milestones from Amr Ibn El Aas Mosque and the Hanging Church to Abu Serga Church and Ben Ezra Synagogue! It must be crystal clear by now that, Al Rifai Mosque leaves a terrific impact on tourism in Egypt for all the touring offers it comes as a part of and the different values it gifts the travelers being welcomed in its domain!

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Al Rifai Mosque Praying Hall

Turns out there’s no way you can tour the mosque without its unique significance leaving a trace in your mind, all thanks to Al Rifai Mosque Praying Hall! The praying space in Al Rifai Mosque is one that will deeply engross every touch of peacefulness in your heart and put your inner turmoil into snooze! The hued gold covering the mosque’s ceiling belongs to the Turkish markets and comes at LE25,000, which cost an arm and a leg back then!

Another substance that helps with the pacifying aura of the mosque is impeccably-carved marble taking different forms and shapes of Mamluk decorations in a classic yet velvety way! These are types of decorations you’ll not get unless mixing nineteen species of marble from a group of seven countries!  Another collection of 44 terrific pillars in total all accompanied by other 18 sophisticatedly-designed window grills take shelter inside the mosque! At this point, Al Rifai Mosque is no foreign to what a traveler might need to pacify their souls and cut their train of thought even for a while!

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Al Rifai Mosque and the Touch it Adds to the Islamic Art

Islamic art needs a new classification of rareness and magnitude worth including its detail, let alone value! And Al Rifai Mosque showed up to make sure those details and value not slipping either the travelers’ minds or their hearts! The mosque has been a living proof of the numerous breathtaking visuals that Islamic art has been all about since the seventh century CE!

As it combines together a variety of details coming from Islamic countries, which is a thing shown in the gold adorning its ceiling; one of the travelers’ beloved details about the mosque! Brought also into the discussion are the Mamluk decorations covering the mosque praying hall that we already talked about in detail above! Islamic art will always be breaking the stereotype with the multiple patterns, schemes, and ornamentations the art decorates its presentations with!

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Al Rifai Mosque Facts

  • The building process of the mosque took place throughout two phases!
  • The establishment of Al Rifai Mosque was an order given to the architects by the mother of Khedive Isma’il Pasha!
  • The mosque is sprouted in Midan Al-Qal’a within Cairo City.
  • It has details of Mamluk and Turkish roots!
  • The site is almost hugging Sultan Hassan Mosque.
  • Al Rifai Mosque plays a centric role in the Egyptian tourism industry!
  • It comes with so many other places to visit in Old Cairo, from Coptic to Islamic landmarks!
  • Finally, it’s one of the fewest that’ll let you forget all about the world spinning around you within its soothing embrace!

Our tour operator, Tour from Hurghada has offered those types of terrific religious tours, since 2004, that got all the serenity in the world to brush against the traveler’s bodies and console their souls! Follow us along the path to resuscitate your energy back to life with unique vibes and provide your mind with the needed purity to think clear all through a visit to Old Cairo! Our services will be always here taking your back from the perfectly talented Egyptologist guides and private transition to the offered meals and more during your trip!

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