CAIRO – 2 September 2021: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is conducting a project to restore and rehabilitate the Palace of Mohammed Ali Pasha in Shubra El-Kheima, after preparing the necessary studies by the Center for Archeology and Environment Engineering, Cairo University with the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Sector in the ministry.
The Assistant Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and the General Supervisor of the Projects Sector, pointed out that the restoration works amasses an estimated financial cost of L.E512 million, and is scheduled to be completed at the end of the second half of 2021. He pointed out that the total implementation rate of the project is 96 percent, and its current area is estimated at about 26 acres.
One of the interesting things that characterized Mohammed Ali Palace in Shubra was that it witnessed the first modern lighting system. England came to know that system in 1820 by engineer M. Galaway who was soon called by Mohammed Ali to fix necessary preparations in his palace. That was considered a great qualitative change.
The palace was unique in combining the European style in decorations and the spirit of Islamic architecture planning. Four ceilings enclosed with a large fountain standing as if it were the yard of a mosque.
However, the drawings and decorations were painted in the 19th century's Italian and French styles. It embraces a host of paintings of Mohammed Ali himself and his family members.
In a related context, the restoration works of the Mohammed Ali Mosque and the Clock Tower of the Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi in Cairo are in full swing. The restoration process aims to restore their original luster, and highlight their archaeological and artistic beauty.
Head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Osama Talaat explained that during the restoration work, an “inscription” in the name of Mohammed Ali was found on the bottom rim of the eighth column to the right in the mosque’s courtyard.
Talaat noted that the inscription was engraved on the flap; it was not a “seal” as some have published.
He explained that the restoration includes cleaning and restoring domes, removing soot and rust on bronze windows, scrubbing and cleaning the marble floor in the saucer, restoring and gilding the inscription tapes at the entrance of the prayer hall and the ablution dome.
The glass for the lower windows in the square was also installed, and new lighting tools were added.
Moreover, the prayer house inside the mosque was restored. This included the maintenance of glass, as well as cleaning, polishing and re-installing the chandelier in the center of the prayer house and replacing the parts that were missing with time.
Talaat emphasized that the work in the chandelier is almost complete and is soon to reach 100 percent. The chandelier is 5.5 meters wide and 3 meters high. It is surrounded by a group of lights and rises 5 meters from the ground of the mosque.
It is worth noting that the Clock Tower is located in the center of the northwestern corridor of the mosque. It is a metal tower decorated with inscriptions and stained glass panels. Inside it resides a watch that was given to Mohammad Ali Pasha by the King of France Louis Philippe in 1846 AD to be placed in the Mohammad Ali Pasha Palace in Shubra.
It was stored in the palace until the matter settled to place it in the mosque during the reign of Khedive Abbas I in 1856 AD.
The Mosque of Mohammed Ali is located in the western corner of the southern section of the castle. It overlooks the city of Cairo with its domes and minarets. It is considered one of Cairo’s archaeological and tourist attractions. It is also known as the Alabaster Mosque.