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Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa
Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa

Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa

El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo

The Basics

A masterpiece of early Mamluk architecture, the Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa was built at huge expense by its namesake sultan, who was assassinated before its completion. After passing through a richly decorated portal, visitors enter a courtyard with an ablutions foundation and four lantern-hung liwans—each adjoining a madrassa. A bronze door from the courtyard leads to the sultan’s tomb.

The Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa can be visited independently or on tours of Cairo’s Islamic quarter. These typically private tours, which include a guide to detail the mosque’s history and design, also visit nearby sites such as the Citadel of Saladin and Al-Rifai Mosque. Other options include multi-day tours that span all Cairo’s highlights, including Islamic Cairo, the pyramids, and the Egyptian Museum—an ideal choice for first-time visitors.

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Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
star-4.5
$100.92 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Punctual pick-up. Very impressive...
Punctual pick-up. Very impressive buildings. Our guide explained a lot about how to live and behave as a Muslim which was quite interesting. The bazaar these days has a lot of imported products from China but still worth spending 20minutes there. Optional visits to papyrus and perfume shop with presentations which we liked. Don't forget to bargain hard.
Alex , Jan 2017

Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

star-5
Our tour guide Mohammed was the...
david k, Mar 2017
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
Our tour guide Mohammed was the best. He was so knowledgeable, friendly and super accommodating. He gave so much explanation, but not too much to where you get bored. He had the imam at the mosque to a prayer for us..it was amazing. He was willing to modify schedule to include lunch and took us to great restaurant in the market. I completely recommend this tour.
star-5
The tour guide was extremely...
Eric F, Dec 2016
Private Walking Tour to Khan el-Khalili and Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. They promptly pick you up from the hotel and provide safe transport to the key areas. We were able to experience the real Cairo. You will not be disappointed with this tour.
star-4
The sites visited were of historical...
John R G, Jul 2016
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
The sites visited were of historical and cultural importance, and the guide was accurate and very informative in his descriptions. Much, much better than many previous tour guides on other excursions. He also accommodated very well what I really wanted to see, and did not need to see. I cannot recommend him too highly.
star-4
The guide was very knowledgeable and...
Faye C, Oct 2017
Private Walking Tour to Khan el-Khalili and Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
The guide was very knowledgeable and the excursions were great!
star-5
We learned so much about Islamic...
Lauline B, Mar 2015
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
We learned so much about Islamic beliefs on this tour. My husband and I now have a deep respect. Thanks to our Egyptologist guide Ahmed Kamal who not only served as our guide but our teacher as well.
star-5
The tour guide was amazing! He had...
Kevin H, Aug 2015
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
The tour guide was amazing! He had great insight on the history and allowed me to enjoy it like a local. Visiting the mosques were beautiful and he made the experience a great one
star-5
outstanding knowledge and focused spots...
Arturo A, Mar 2015
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
outstanding knowledge and focused spots to take excellent pictures. thank you
star-5
Great photo ops on this tour! But...
Leilani S, May 2009
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
Great photo ops on this tour! But insist on skipping the shopping.
star-4
A good tour, guide was very...
Carol P, May 2011
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
A good tour, guide was very knowledgeable and helpful.
star-5
Our Egyptian guide was superb. He was...
Richard C, Oct 2009
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
Our Egyptian guide was superb. He was cordial and very knowledgeable. We had a great time!
star-5
Incredible, but mostly because my tour...
Deborah Anne J, Dec 2010
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
Incredible, but mostly because my tour guide was so informative and personable.
star-5
We loved this tour! My mom wears a...
Sarah D, Apr 2017
Private Tour: Alabaster Mosque, Sultan Hassan, Khan el-Khalili
We loved this tour! My mom wears a knee brace and the guide was very respectful of this. He offered to help her if she saw her struggling with any stairs. The guide and driver were extremely accommodating, especially at the end when we said we wanted to find a good jewelry shop. They both stayed beyond the listed hours to make sure that we were comfortable and had a good experience. We were also able to visit an additional mosque. The guide had excellent English and could answer all of our questions, as well as give an accurate historical portrayal of the sites visited. He seemed passionate about sharing his Egyptian culture with us.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Sultan Hassan Mosque will appeal to history and religious buffs.

  • Dress respectfully to go inside, with shoulders and knees fully covered.

  • Be prepared to remove your shoes and leave them at the entrance.

  • Women should wear a headscarf and a long skirt or long pants.

  • Restrooms are located behind the mosque.

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How to Get There

The Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa is in the El-Darb El-Ahmar district southeast of central Cairo, just below the Citadel of Saladin. Parking is difficult, so the easiest options are cabs or guided tours. If you’re going by cab and want to visit both the citadel and Sultan Hassan Mosque, explore the citadel first, as it’s then a downhill walk to the mosque.

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When to Get There

The Sultan Hassan Mosque is open daily from 9am to 5pm, but generally closed during daily prayers within these hours—at around midday and 3pm. Try to avoid Fridays, the Islamic holy day, when the mosque is packed with worshippers.

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Saladin’s Citadel and Al-Rifai Mosque

Make the most of a visit to the Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa by exploring its two nearby attractions. Visit the 12th-century Citadel of Saladin and its stunning Mohammed Ali Mosque—nicknamed the Alabaster Mosque—before strolling down to the Sultan Hassan Mosque and the 19th-century Al-Rifai Mosque. The latter contains the tombs of Egypt’s last king and the last Shah of Iran, who died in exile in Cairo in 1980.

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