Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel

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The Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad, founded in 1318, but enlarged by the same sultan in 1335 The exterior walls are plain and higher in proportion to length than those of the earlier enclosure mosques of Ibn Tülün, al-Hakim, Baybars, etc. A row of pointed-arched windows originally filled with stucco grills runs around the upper part of the wall. The walls are crowned with undercut stepped cresting. There are two entrances, in the NE and NW walls, with tall pointed-arched stalactite hoods.

Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel
Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel

There are also two minarets, one at the E corner and the other to the right of the door in the NW wall. They have no parallel anywhere in Egypt. Each consists of three stone cylindrical tiers, the lower two incised with large chevron patterns, the lower perpendicular, the second horizontal; the upper tier is grooved. The two balconies, resting on great corbels, are carved and pierced marble, and the whole is crowned by a strange ribbed melon-like cap, originally covered with green faience tiles, many of which are still in place.

Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel
Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel

INTERIOR. The central sahn is surrounded by riwaqs, those to the SW, NW, and NE two arcades deep and the principal riwaq against the qiblah wall four arcades deep, with a dome covering three arcades over the mihrab. The decoration is rather austere for the period but enhances the beauty. The marble columns and capitals are all reused and represent various architectural styles. The columns support half-round arches with pierced openings on which rests the richly decorated wooden ceiling of octagonal panels covered with geometrical designs, restored by the CPAM. The original marble floor and facings of the walls were removed by Salim I and taken to Istanbul, but the whole mosque was refaced by the CPAM for King Färüq.

Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel
Mosque of Sultan al Nasir Muhammad in The Citadel

The dome over the mihrab is supported on ten great red granite Ancient Egyptian columns brought from al Ashmunayn and used for the second building of the mosque Above the square base the dome was raised on wooden squinches and around the base runs a wooden foundation frieze in the name of al Nasir Muh. with the date 735 (AD 1335). The dome fell in 1468, killing the guardian and his son, and was rebuilt by Sultan Qayt bay, but this also fell sometime during the Ottoman period and the present one was erected by the CPAM in 1935.

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