Saturday, July 20, 2013

The mosque of Suleiman Pasha

Soliman Pasha Mosque
Soliman Pasha Mosque

 Although it is not the first religious foundation based in Cairo after the Ottoman conquest, the Suleymaniye Mosque (Suleyman) Pasha al-Khadim was in 1528, the first mosque built by the new rulers. The mosque is located inside the north of the Citadel, near the end (east), which was then occupied by the body Janisssary of the Ottoman army. A provision that the Sheikh of the mosque was to be Turkish indicates his attachment to the body. Sulayman Pasha was an officer of the court that eventually became wali (governor) for the Janissary corps.

 Although small, the mosque is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture of the sixteenth century. This is a free standing structure center0dome, located in an enclosure garden.

The architecture of the mosque is very little Cairene traditions and his plan, in the form of an inverted-T, is quite early Ottoman with mihrab located in the stem of the T. It is a rectangular building, about half of which is taken up by the prayer room, while the other half consists of the court.

ٍSoliman Mosque
Entrance to the mosque

The building has no facade in Cairo architectural sense of windows and decorative paneling. Perhaps because of its military heritage, the appearance of the mosque is rather introverted. Its small portal insignificant seems an imitation of the mosque near al-Nasir Muhammad, also in the Citadel, with a half-dome of stalactites. The minaret, which comprises a cylindrical shaft high facets that was new in Cairo, is located to the left of the entrance on the south wall of the sanctuary. It uses a Mamluk device in different styles of sculpture stalactites on balconies, an exception among the Ottoman minarets of Cairo. The profile of the dome is round and squat.

Dome of Mosque
Dome from the inside

Inside there is no vestibule. The entry that is used today, which is not the main entrance leads directly into the prayer hall. The prayer hall is a rectangular space covered by a central dome, flanked by three half domes, like the mosque of Muhammad Ali. The dome of the Ottoman mosques was used to cover the entire sanctuary of the mosque instead of just the mausoleum which he is attached or only the part before the mihrab. The central dome is based on spherical pendants. His painting and that of the transition zone were restored. A beautiful inscription around the dome, a large and prominent place for the written word, the basis of the universal law of Islam (Quran 3:189-194):

 "To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and God is powerful over all things.
Certainly, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of mind who remember God;
Standing and sitting on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth:
"Our Lord, You have not created this in vain, Glory to Thee!
We guard against the punishment of the Fire.
Our Lord, You admittest in the fire, get humiliated, and the wicked will be no helpers.
Our Lord, we have heard the call to belief call, saying: "You believe in your Lord!" And we believe.
Our Lord, forgive us our sins and you meet our evil deeds, and take us to You with piles.

Our Lord, give us what You promised us through Your messengers, and not lower ourselves on the Day of Resurrection:

You do not want to miss the appointment. "
Niche's mosque Soliman
Niche's mosque

As in the proximity of "Ali Mosque (also Ottoman), large medallions interrupt entry contains the names of God (Allah), Muhammad, Abu Bakr, 'Umar Muhammad' Uthman and 'Ali. The inclusion of these names in the dominant medallions, often drawn by famous calligraphers, is a characteristic of Ottoman mosques began at a time when the main rival of the Ottoman Empire was the Shiite Safavid Persian Empire. The goal is to exhortation and more religious than decorative. They remind the faithful of the Sunni orthodoxy.

rostrum of soliman mosque
the rostrum

The dikka is attached to the upper part of the wall facing the prayer niche and is accessed by an internal staircase. It is also painted. A large pulpit (minbar), carved and painted, is surmounted by a conical hat like the minaret, as Mamluk chairs had pavilions similar to those of their minarets. The chair is made of marble panels held together by iron clamps and is decorated with a geometric pattern based on stars and polygonal shapes, both the hardware and inspired by the Mamluk working model.

The lower part of the interior walls of the prayer hall are covered with marble paneling in the Mamluk style and a carved frieze of inlaid marble dough rises above the paneling. The walls have been restored in the nineteenth century. It is not clear how they are faithful to the original Ottoman decorations, but a rich effect is achieved.
The western entrance

Much of the rest of the decor reminiscent of the previous Mamluk, including loggia project on molded consoles and simulated marble veneer made ​​of bitumen and red paste in the registration grooved around the walls.
A door in the west wall leads to a marble-paved courtyard. The arch over the entrance to the courtyard is noteworthy. Arabesques in stucco and half-palmettes (a stylized palm leaf used as a decorative element) act as frameworks for floral motifs painted. This emphasis on floral patterns, rather than geometric and arabesque ornament, was new to Cairo and was introduced by the Ottomans.

The Central dome
The courtyard is surrounded by a covered arcade with domes. The central dome, domes around the yard and the conical top of the minaret are all covered with green tiles. On the west side of the yard is a sanctuary built in the Fatimid period around 1140 by Abu Mansur ibn Qasta to house his tomb. It was dedicated to Sidi Sariya, a companion of the Prophet. The sanctuary is built into the architecture of the mosque, and covered by a larger than around the yard dome. The sanctuary contains the tombs of Ottoman officials with cenotaphs trimmed turbans different types of marble. Until recently, there was a wooden boat hanging over the cenotaph of Ibn Qasta. It is a popular tradition in Egypt to put the boats in the shrines of saints.

On the north side of the courtyard another entrance leads to a second court in front of an arched oblong building consisting of two rooms. The lobby opens onto the courtyard and leads through a gate in the inner room. Both are covered by two half-spherical dome of pendants, in front of the other. According to the deed of foundation, this building is a kuttab. Domes were covered with blue tiles. The Kuttab has a prayer niche with stalactites in the concha. At one time, there was apparently also a Sabil, but it no longer exists.

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