Enjoy exploring the greatness of the Islamic Cairo, where you can visit numerous mosques, one of these fabulous mosques is Al-Refai Mosque, which lies at the Citadel street. Al-Rifai Mosque is known by its spectacular Islamic architecture and it is considered one of the biggest mosques in Cairo. At the beginning Al-Refai Mosque was constructed to be as huge as the great Sultan Hassan Mosque which located opposite to it with many similarities between them both.
First of all Al-Rifai Mosque was built in two phases between 1869 AD and 1912 AD. The construction was started in 1869 AD upon the site of the former Refai Zawiya, by the order of Lady Khushiar Hanim, the mother of the 19th century khedive Ismail Pasha, designed by the architect Hussien Fahri Pasha, but the construction was stopped in 1880 AD to modify the design and after the death of Lady Khushiar Hanim in 1885 AD the construction was completely stopped for twenty five years. Afterwards, during the tenure of Hussien Helmy II, the construction continued when he ordered Max Hertz Pasha, who was Austrian, and his Italian assistant Carlo Virgilio Silvagni to finish the task, so the construction resumed in 1905 AD and the mosque was accomplished in 1911 AD, and it was opened for the first time for Friday prayer in 1912 AD.
The effort of the builders and the architects is almost palpable, where the greatness was embodied in the mosque’s design, they paid enormous attention to every single detail.
The Mosque was built in the Bahri Mamluk style which was similar to the European style in the 19th and 20th century, they also imported the materials of the building from Europe.
The Mosque is rectangular in shape, measuring around 6500 squares meter in size, the space is divided in two parts, 1767 square meters of it was reserved for praying and the remainder is the mausoleum of the Royal Family, as Lady Kushiar Hanim wanted to build it as a burial of the Royal Family in the first place.
The Mosque contains 2 shrines for Sheikh Yehia Al-Ansary and Ali Abu-Shebak, and it includes the tombs of the Royal Family, Where a lot of Mohamed Ali family members were buried inside, starting from the founder Lady Kushiar Hanim, including the sons and daughters of Khedive Ismail, King Farouk, and king Fouad, moreover the last Shah of Iran was buried in Al-Refai Mosque in 1980.