The Mausoleum of Muhammad Ahmed “the Mahdi” is the most recognizable building in the city. Originally constructed in 1885 after his death, the first mausoleum was destroyed by the British a few years later. The place of his tomb remained abandoned throughout the remained of the colonial period, but the mausoleum was rebuilt soon after the British pulled out. The current structure dates from the mid-20th century.
The architecture of the tomb represents an amalgam of various 19th and 20th century styles. The main mausoleum building itself is clearly reminiscent of the British colonial style common to Egypt and the Middle East. The most distinctive, and unusual, feature of the mausoleum is the great central dome which looks like the tip of an enormous silver bullet. The shape is based on traditional African styles. Four smaller silver domes crown towers at the corners of the mausoleum. Inside the mausoleum is a shrine marking the place where the Mahdi’s tomb once stood.