Old-Time Religion

Cairo, Egypt


“Have a Seat”Click here to share or send a greeting with this image.

Touring Egypt 15: As I’ve mentioned before, Cairo is home to hundreds of mosques. One of the most imposing is the magnificent Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa, downtown on the edges of the old city. Just a very short distance from the Citadel built by Saladin, the mosque is built on an enormous scale and is full of unique views and perspectives. A working mosque, this is one place where the old meets the new on a daily basis. The chairs in this image seem impossibly and incongruously colorful and modern in the historic, subdued central courtyard of this historic devotional structure; they called me to take a photo.

Sultan Hassan’s mosque is entered through enormous chambers and hallways nearly the size of streets. Arriving at the central courtyard, one is inspired by the beautiful fountain at the center and the lofty prayer alcoves iwan arranged in compass points around it — each of which is home to tens of lamps suspended by chains from impossibly high arched ceilings. In the direction of Mecca, one alcove houses a beautiful elevated station from which the imam may address the assembled faithful. Opposite this “altar” stands a line of plastic chairs for those who are unable to kneel for the duration of their prayers.Sunlight streams from an adjoining passageway and window to illuminate the impressive hallway that enters the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

“Into the Light”Share this image

'Sultan Hassan' (The Sultan Hassan Mosque, Cairo):  The central square is impressive while prayer alcoves offer a cool, calm, and inspirational setting for worship.

“Sultan Hassan”Share this image
It would be easy to spend a day here, lost in devotion and contemplation of the lives and history touched by the serenity and beauty of this imposing house of worship. As I wandered the mosque, I has struck by stunning and different views at every turn. The beauty of the place was exceeded only by the welcome and patience of the imams we met there. We moved on relatively quickly, but not before I had found a dozen fabulous views — enough to make a mini-collection within this Eqypt series. Look for more in another post in a couple of days….

(Image top ['Have a Seat']: Nikon D200, Nikkor wide-zoom at 24mm, ISO 250, f/4 at 1/4000 sec.)

(Center ['Into the Light']: Same camera and lens at 17mm, ISO 250, f/4 at 1/20 sec with exposure compensation of -4/3 to bring out shadows.)

(Bottom ['Sultan Hassan']: Same camera and lens at 24mm, ISO 250, f/4 at 1/1500 sec with exposure compensation of -4/3 to bring out shadows.)
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