The Mosque of Al Rifa’i is located in the heart of Old Islamic Cairo, which is also referred to as “Historic Cairo”. In 1979, UNESCO had designated this specific area of Cairo as a World Heritage Site. There are over 600 structures of cultural importance in Historic Cairo, and it is an intriguing and special area to visit.
The Mosque of Al Rifia’i, which is directly across the much older Mosque – Madrasa of Sultan Hasan, was constructed in two periods between 1869 and 1912. The Mosque of Sultan Hasan was constructed during the fourteenth century. It had taken many years to construct the Mosque of Al Rifia’i, and so it represents the years of political and historical revolution of Egypt.
Mosque of Al Rifa’i (right) and Mosque of Sultan Hasan (Left)
Upon entering this mosque, I had looked up from the street level and the enterance seemed massive. There are several steps that lead to the grand doorway, and even grander foyer ceiling. The interior of this mosque is very ornate, although very dim with several Egyptian periodical styles represented. This is a more modern mosque than the one across the way, but it still has a very old world feel. It was stunning!
The mosque of Al Rifa’i also contains the tomb of Imam Rifai, along with the royal mausoleum of the latter members of the Mohammed Ali’s family.
When entering a mosque, it is customary to remove your shoes to preserve the cleanliness of the prayer space. There will be people at the front doors who will take care of your shoes until you return. At the Mosque of Al Rifai there are also scarves that ladies can borrow if needed.
Touring old Historic Cairo is very important when visiting Egypt. This area is another layer of this country’s history besides the Egyptian Gods and the Pyramids. I found it to be a very safe and peaceful area, especially with having a personal guide and driver . I do not think I could have done this on my own, although I did consider it.
If you are in need of an Egyptologist with a separate driver who will professionally guide you through Historic Cairo, I highly recommend Ehab Mehana. He was my personal guide throughout Historic – Islamic Cairo, Ehab was terrific, knowledgeable and just a great human being.
Photo Journal of the Mosque of Al Rifai
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