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Sultan Hassan Madrassa and Mosque

Sultan Hassan Madrassa and Mosque

Considered to be one of the most wonderful monuments in the Islamic world, Sultan Hassan Madrassa, is the most compact of all the monuments in Cairo. It was built by the ruler of Mamluk Sultan Hassan during 1356 AD and was the religious school for all the branches of Sunni Islam. It is said that the stones used in the construction of this mosque may have been from the Pyramid of Giza.

It took seven years to construct this mosque and was completed in 1363AD. Though Sultan Hassan began the construction of the mosque, he disappeared two years prior to its completion. He might have been captured or assassinated but his body was never recovered. Therefore, the huge burial ground originally constructed for him holds his two sons.

The mosque has four facades, out of which two are considered to be very important - one in the northeast that is 145 m long and 38 m tall and four pair of vertical windows. There was supposed to be minaret at each corner of the mosque but this plan was abandoned as the minaret directly above the entrance came down killing 300 people during the construction.

The court in the front of the mosque is in the shape of a square with a big ablution fountain in the middle. The ablution is covered by a wooden dome supported by 8 pillars - all made of marble. Surrounding the courtyard are four huge sitting rooms, also known as liwans - each of them leading to the madrassa. The mosque has four Madrassas or religious schools and stretches to 7,906 square metres.

One of the liwan doubles up as a sanctuary and contains the mihrab and minbar. Towards the right of the minbar is a bronze door decorated with gold and silver radiating stars. This leads to the mausoleum of Sultan Hassan. The mausoleum is a wonderful sight every morning when the rising sunrays beam through the grilled windows.

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