commonly called "The Alabaster Mosque". On either side of the dome are 2 very slender minarets, the 3 together constituting the landmark. In the open space were several flower-beds, kept in very good order. Passing thro' these we came to the main entrance facing the city. This is an archway in the high wall, having towers on either side of it & large massive gates which were pierced in a dozen or more places by cannon shot holes, probably the result of Napoleon's siege.
A sentry was on guard at the entrance the whole being Ordinance Store, Barracks, Arsenal & Hospital for our forces. Passing thro' the road wound slowly upwards past stores & barracks until we came to the courtyard outside the large mosque. (Photos of some of these places I took & am sending, other places figure on the postcards sent.)
A marble wall surrounds the mosque, & at the entrance were several Arabs who tied canvas overshoes on the feet of whites desirous of entering, receiving as backsheeh a piaster or so on departure. Outside the mosque & surrounded by the marble wall is a large courtyard abt 50 yds by 50 yds having in the centre a fountain supplied with a number of taps at which we saw natives washing their feet as if the water were holy or something of the sort.
In the wall were recesses (arched) from which a glorious panoramic view of Cairo is obtained, but unfortunately only one of these was open: I took a photo from this tho' the camera was rather pointing towards the sun. away to the left in the distance were the 2 pyramids dimly outlined beyond the green strip bordering the Nile, which with one or two canals running in the same direction could be clearly distinguished.
For the rest it was simply a mass of buildings, flat roofs, domes, & minarets being the outstanding features. Previously I had had no conception of the enormous size