Mosque of Sayyidna Al Hussein


One of the most sacred Islamic sites in Egypt, this mosque is the reputed burial place of the head of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed. Most of the building dates from about 1870, except for the beautiful 14th-century stucco panels on the minaret. The modern metal sculptures in front are elegant Teflon canopies that expand to cover worshippers during Friday prayers. This is one of the few mosques where non-Muslims can't enter.

The death of Hussein in Karbala, Iraq, cemented the rift between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam. It has to be said that the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus also claims Hussein's head, a Shiite relic, even though both mosques were established by Sunnis.

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