396 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
position, expelled the Turkish governor, Khurshid, from the Citadel. The fortress was
constructed of massive stones brought from the third and smaller pyramids of Gizeh, and its
vaulted gateways, machicolated battlements, and round towers present an almost Norman aspect.
The principal building inside is Mohammad 'Aly's great mosque, with its over-slender minarets>
cruet-stand of domes (see page 390), and gaudy Turkish decoration. The alabaster columns
that procure it the name of " the Alabaster Mosque" were quarried near Beny Suweyf, but
many of them were stolen by 'Abbas Pasha for his palace, and replaced by wood. All Cairene
building subsists on the principle of robbery. The Ptolemies stole the pillars of the Pharaohs;
the Arabs used the materials of the Greeks and Romans ; the Turks steal from most of their
predecessors with their usual indiscriminating brigandage. The Citadel is an extraordinary
medley of all styles and periods. Hieroglyphic blocks jostle Turkish lath-and-plaster; the
eagle of Saladin looks down upon the flimsy ornaments of Isma'il. The deep well called, after
Saladin (whose name was also Yusuf, or Joseph), Joseph's Well, but believed by the Arabs to
have been the identical pit into which Joseph, son of Jacob, was cast by his envious brethren, is
an enlargement of an ancient shaft. Though very deep —nearly three hundred feet—its slow
supply, raised by oxen, has been superseded by the modern steam pumps. The mosque of
En-Nasir Mohammad, hard by, is a partly ruined building, despoiled of many of its adornments,
but presenting much that is noteworthy in the history of Arab art.
But the Citadel is not worth seeing for itself so much as for the view (page 387 gives but a
portion of it) which spreads before the eye as one stands at sunset on its battlemented wall.
Below lies the city with its countless domes and minarets—Sultan Hasan in the foreground—
its wilderness of irregular tumble-down yellow and white flat-roofed houses, interspersed with
many a garden and the dark foliage of the sycamores; beyond, a fringe of palms and a streak
of silver show where the broad Nile rolls sleepily on between its brown banks. To the right,
the huge dome and handsome minarets of El-Muayyad stand out prominently from among
their fellows; beyond these the minarets of the Nahhasin; and at the end the two queer-shaped
mebkharehs of El-Hakim. To the left is the enormous court of Ibn-Tulun's mosque, and its
strange minaret then the billowy mounds of Fustat; and in the distance, against the ridge
that terminates the Libyan desert, in the carmine glory of the setting sun, stand the everlasting
Pyramids, " like the boundary-marks of the mighty waste, the Egyptian land of shades." Still
farther to the left, the aqueduct, which has brought water to the Citadel for nearly four centuries,
stretches away to the Nile; and behind us is the picturesque cluster of the ruined " Tombs of
the Memluks," or cemetery of El Karafeh (see pages 390, 391, and 392), with their attendant
city, not only of tombs, but of numerous houses for the reception of families who pay annual
visits to the graves of their relatives, and celebrate the occasion by acts of charity and
recitations of the entire Koran. Looking over the Memluk minarets, we can see the dim
outlines of the Pyramids of Dahshur and Abusir and the well-known form of the Step Pyramid
of Sakkarah ; and as the glow of sunset fades away, the evening clouds gather in the west, and
the desert beyond takes up their shades of grey and blue, like a vast mid-African ocean.