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Age of the Mamluk Beys

19th Century
17 - Cairo From Napoleon to Muhammad `Ali
A medal commemorating the Napoleonic Expedition to Egypt dated 1798.
Cover Page of the L'Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Caire mesures et dessines de 1818 a 1826.
Musafirkhana Palace (1779-1888): The guest house of Muhammad `Ali and his immediate descendants, this palace is a grander version of the Suheimi house and the last specimen of a tradition of princely houses that have lasted from the Ayyubid period until the early 19th century.
View of the courtyard with the main qa'a in the background.
Interior view of the main qa'a from the durqa'a towards the right side iwan.
The main qa'a of the palace after it burned down in late 1998.
Sabil-Kuttab of Tusun Pasha (1820): A heavily decorated round-fronted sabil with two kuttab rooms on either side. It was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad `Ali's oldest son who died in 1816.
General view of the Sabil-Kuttab.
The Bijou Palace (1824) and the Palaces of the Harem (1826): Built as royal residences and offices at the Citadel, they follow the familiar theme of Ottoman palace organization, which divides the structure into a salamlik (men's quarters) and a haramlik (women's quarter). Their surface articulation, heavily copied from European Baroque, is a testimonial to the strength of European styles in influencing the taste of the Pasha of Egypt and his whole court.
General view of the Harem Palaces and other sturctures built by Muhammad 'Ali in the Northern Enclosure of the Citadel.
The Mosque of Muhammad `Ali, Cairo Citadel: Begun in 1830 and not finished until after the death of Muhammad 'Ali in 1848, it stands at the highest point of the Citadel and is visible from almost every location in Cairo. The mosque, which is a pure central-domed plan, has two slender pencil minarets that soar to a height of 82 m. The interior is articulated in a neo-baroque style that contrasts sharply in its profusion and eclecticism with the structural straightforwardness of the mosque. The mosque is a rhetorical composition designed to emulate the early style of royal Ottoman mosques of Istanbul.
General view of the Mosque on top of the Citadel of Cairo.
Side facade of the Mosque showing the central and side domes.
The ablution fountain in the center of the courtyard and the clock tower of Napoleon III in the background.
Interior view of the Mosque's domes with their Baroque decorative patterns.
The Mosque of Suleiman Agha al-Silahdar (1837-39): Built by this trusted lieutenant of Muhammad 'Ali on the main street of Cairo, this elegant mosque displays the same mixture of Baroque Ottoman and local Cairene styles as the mosque of the Pasha at the Citadel.
The courtyard of the Mosque.
The Baroque inspired capital of one of the three types of columns used in the mosque.
The French Expedition (1789-1801): An imperial enterprise led by Napoleon Bonaparte, it ushered the age of Westernization and modernization in Egypt. Along with the army, Napoleon recruited scholars and engineers who systematically collected, classified, and represented all available material on the history, geography, and culture of the country. Their work, which formed the basis of the modern knowledge on Egypt, was published as the Description de l'Egypte (1809-28) in nine volumes of text and fourteen grand volumes of illustrations.
Muhammad `Ali Pasha: Semi-independent ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848, he established a dynasty that lasted until 1952. Muhammad 'Ali started the transformation of Egypt into a modern state that challenged the Ottoman empire and threatened the European powers' designs for the Middle East. His descendants, later called the Khedives, were not as farsighted as he was and they eventually lost even Egypt's independence, which became a British colony in 1882.
Pascal Coste: French architect who, between 1817 and 1827, worked for Muhammad `Ali first as the designer and supervisor of large engineering projects and later as an architect of palaces and commemorative structures. His book, L'Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Caire mesures et dessines de 1818 a 1826 (1837), offered the first visually comprehensive and typologically codified analysis of important Islamic monuments in Cairo.

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Modernization of Cairo


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