This is the Mausoleum of the spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shi’ite sect (as were the Fatimid) based principally in India but with followers around the world. It is a very elegant pink granite structure of late 1950 origin, which also resembles the Fatimid tombs in Cairo. Members of this sect consider themselves to be the direct spiritual descendants of the Fatimid. The Mausoleum has an excellent view, including Aga Khan’s white villa below, and is near the Monastery of St. Simeons on the west bank at Aswan. His Begun, or wife, still lives in the villa three months of the year.
The Aga Khan was extremely wealthy. On his birthday in 1945, he was weighed in diamonds which he then distributed to his followers. It should be noted, also, that he was a large man. Every day that his widow was at the Villa, she places a Red Rose on his white Carrara marble tomb. His widow, Omme Habibeh, popularly referred to as “The Begum” died on July 1st, 2000. The other months, a gardener fills this function, and it has been rumored that at one point, not a single rose could be found in Egypt, so for almost a week, roses were flown in from Paris by private jet.
Mohammed Shah Aga Khan was educated in Europe and succeeded his father in 1885 to become the 48th imam. He was succeeded by his grandson, Karim AGa Khan upon his death in 1957. The Mausoleum is no longer open to the public