The Citadel Mosque in Cairo

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The Citadel Mosque in Cairo

The Citadel Mosque in CairoOn our last full day in Egypt we visited one of the most impressive buildings we've ever seen - the Citadel Mosque. We've done quite a bit of traveling as a family and seen Hindu Temples, Buddhist Temples and Christian Churches but never been inside a Mosque so we were very excited.

Outside the Citadel Mosque

The Citadel Mosque is at the highest point in the city and from the courtyard outside you get a great view if Cairo. Standing looking over the city was a strangely alien experience. The noise of the traffic was all too evident but rather than the noisy drone of western cities, Cairo has a more bustling sound with toots and beeps of horn common in the background.

From the front the Citadel Mosque is impressive. I read in our guidebook that up close the Citadel is disappointing but I don't agree. One side of the building rises high above an attractive courtyard with small market stalls and a great view of the city while the other side (through which we entered)The Turkish Fountain has a beautifully open area with a Turkish fountain in the middle and an ornate clock high on one wall (which was apparently given by the French in return for the obelisk in the Place De Concorde but has never worked!).

Inside the Citadel Mosque

Entering the Mosque was an honour. It is very holy place and gives you a real sense of reverie. We took off our shoes, placed the on the floor with the soles of each shoe facing one another to prevent the dirt and dust from the road getting onto the ground and then sat on the floor with our guide as he explained in whispered tones the main parts of the Mosque and how they fit into the beliefs of Islam.

Inside the Citadel Mosque in Cairo, EgyptThe children sat quietly; listening and learning about the two fundemental inscriptions found in all Mosques (That there is only one God; That Mohammad is God's prophet) and how services are conducted. We also learned a little of the structure of the Islamic faith in Egypt. This was a great experience for the children in particular to learn first hand about a different culture.

While the Citadel is well worth a visit in any circumstances - going with a guide makes the experience much more special. Ahmed did a great job in leaving us with a clearer view of Islam as well as the architectural feature of the Mosque.