Monday, November 20, 2017

Greece | Kavala | Muhammad Ali

While in Kavala I wandered by the home of Muhammad Ali (1769–1849), who is often called the founder of modern Egypt. Muhammad Ali was born in Kavala and lived here until he was thirty. The house he lived in is now a museum. His family, who were ethnically Albanian, was involved in the tobacco business (one of the mainstays of the Kavala economy at the time) and his father was the commander of the local Ottoman troops. He himself entered the army and very quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Second Commander in the Kavala Volunteer Contingent of Albanian mercenaries that was sent to re-occupy Egypt following Napoleon Bonaparte's withdrawal in 1801. He quickly became the de facto head of Ottoman forces in Egypt and in 1805 the local ulema demanded that he be made the Wali or Viceroy of Egypt. It soon became apparent the Muhammad Ali intended to seize control of Egypt for himself, but Ottoman Sultan Selim III was unable to depose him. Finally in 1841, after he had attempted to seize Syria and parts of Asia Minor from the Ottomans, he was recognized as the Khedive of Egypt and his family made the hereditary rulers of the country. The last member of his dynasty, the notorious King Farouk, was deposed in 1952 by Gamal Abdel Nasser and other army officers.
Statue of Muhammad Ali in Kavala (click on photos for enlargements)
Statue of Muhammad Ali in Kavala 
House where Muhammad Ali lived in Kavala, now a museum 
Austere interior of Muhammad Ali’s house. I wish I had this room in my hovel in Zaisan Tolgoi.
Austere interior of Muhammad Ali’s house
While in Egypt a few years ago I wandered by the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. The mosque was commissioned by Muhammad Ali and built between 1830 and 1848. Located on the top of the Citadel, it is visible from most parts of Cairo and is now one of the city’s most conspicuous landmarks.
Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Courtyard of the Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Interior of the Mosque of Muhammad Ali 
Portrait of Muhammad Ali by Auguste Couder

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