Art & Design Study Collection, James Smith Pierce Collection.
UND Art Collections Repository
Fascinating Cairo! centre of Moslem culture for 1,000 years seat of El-Azhar, the oldest university in the world, with 10,000 students instructed without charge, and even fed if they are poor. are its chief interest today; but a millennium of wonderful history and romance gives a fascination to the place like that of the Arabian Nights. The present polyglot population of Cairo and its suburbs is nearly 600,000 souls. The Mosque of Sultan Hassan, begun in 1356, is pronounced the gem of the Moslem artistic world. The American consul and author, Frederic Courtland Penfield, in his charming volume, "Present-Day Egypt," considers it superior to St. Sophia at Constantinople and calls its great dome "a liberal education in architecture." The mosque seen in this view is known as the Alabaster Mosque because its columns and mural decorations are of alabaster. The interior is richly adorned and brilliantly lighted. The mosque was begun in 1824 by Mohammed Ali, founder of the present Egyptian dynasty; his tomb is in one corner surrounded by a railing. Ascending the Nile by steamboat or dahabiyeh or skirting it by train, for 350 miles, we are at Luxor, a world's wonder.