Hosh al-Pasha
Cairo, Egypt
"This is a five-domed complex visible to the right, directly behind the Tomb of Imam al-Shafi'i. The portal-entrance leads to a courtyard, now barren and dusty, but once a lush garden. Inside, in an irregular layout of domed rooms richly decorated in green and gold, lie Tusun, Isma'il, and Ibrahim, the sons of Muhammad 'Ali by Amina, his first and favorite wife. They are surrounded by their wives and children, as well as by devoted servants, distinguished statesmen, and counselors. The first memorial, upon entering, in a room by itself, is the towering white marble tomb of the mother of Khedive Tawfiq (1879-92). Next on the left, in a tomb surrounded by an immense bronze grille, lies Tusun. Immediately in front of him lies Isma'il. Two domes over, the tall deeply carved cenotaph is that of Ibrahim Pasha, who died just weeks before his father in 1850. under the dome next to Tusun are the cenotaphs of 'Abbas I, his son Ilhami Pasha, his wife, and Ahmad Rif'at, son of Ibrahim Pasha.

The cenotaphs are exuberantly carved with flowers, garlands, and fronds and are gilded and painted in bright colors. A stela at the head topped by a distinctive coiffure or head-covering indicates the rank and sex of the deceased. Men are identified by turbans or fezzes, women by coronets. For the women there is a further distinction: braids in relief denote a royal mother; painted braids, a royal wife; and a coil of loosely caught hair, often sprinkled with golden tears, indicates a virgin princess.

These turbans, fezzes, tresses, and coronets give to the tombs a funereal reality that is quite poignant. One visitor in the nineteenth century likened the experience of visiting this tomb to walking through a "petrified crowd." In an outer room, several to a cenotaph, lie the mamluks or retainers of Muhammad 'Ali, who is buried in his mosque at the Citadel."


Williams, Caroline. 2002. Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide. Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 126.
Cairo, Egypt
Associated Names
1854/1270 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Hosh al-Basha
Hawsh al-Basha
Building Usages