Information about Amir Sarghatmish Madrasa Mosque, tours, Booking
Amir Sarghatmish madrasa, mosque and mausoleum located in Saliba Street in Cairo. In fact, they are just behind Ibn Tulun mosque. The Gayer Anderson museum located to one side of that mosque. Amir Sarghatmish Madrasa located on the other side. Madrasa is an Arabic word means school. In the Islamic era, it support of higher Qur’anic studies, prophetic traditions and jurisprudence. Seif ad-Dim Sarghatmish was a Mamluk. He acquired by Sultan Al-Nasir Mohammad. As was the custom at the time, he called al-Nassiri as a tribute to his mater. He grew up in the corps of jamdars or keepers of the wardrobe. Amir Sarghatmish was handsome man. He came to prominence during the reigns of al-Nasir’s minor sons. It was when he took an active part in the battles waged on their behalf.
In fact, he was one of the principle agents of Sultan Hassan’s return to power. Afterwards, he ruled the country on Hassan’s behalf. In fact, Sultan Hassan tired of this and had him imprisoned and then murdered in 1358. He buried under the dome of his Madrasa. Saliba Street is a rather narrow lane with lots of traffic. The redevelopment of Cairo Citadel to the transformation of this zone into an urban area. It was under Sultan Al- Nasser Mohammad leadership. Moreover, Saliba Street became a major thoroughfare. Princes built town houses, palaces, mosques and schools in the area. Amir Sarghatmish madrasa and mosque attached to the northeast wall of Ibn Tulun Mosque. There were houses which built in this area and destroyed by Prince Sarghatmish in 1356. So he could build his mosque and madrasa.
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In fact, Amir Sarghatmish madrasa is a good example of the type of Islamic foundation. Amir Sarghatmish madrasa built especially for the teaching of the Hanefite rite of Islam. It was a major merging place for the rite’s leaders. They mainly came from Persia. This was why Persian architecture can seen in Amir Sarghatmish madrasa. It is besides to the Mamluk style. There were one senior and three junior professors appointed. Moreover, sixty students enrolled. There was also an orphanage school that established as an annex. It accommodated forty children. Moreover, it directed by a teacher and an assistant. The teacher taught them Quran, calligraphy and arithmetic.
In fact, Amir Sarghatmish madrasa is a rectangular in shape with many windows. Moreover, the windows covered with white rock screens. The southwest facade facing Ibn Tulun mosque. It has shops beneath it. In fact, the main facade is on the west side, with a stalactite portal and a minaret. On the main facade are two black mashraheyya windows which are beautiful and well crafted. On the southwestern side of Amir Sarghatmish madrasa is a mausoleum. The mausoleum does not adjoin the prayer hall. That is why it can face the main street. Moreover, the dome of the mausoleum has a high drum. It is with the remains of an inscription band and a cornice of stalactites underneath the dome. This is the earliest extant example of a dome with stalactites on the exterior.
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The transition zone of the dome is not visible from the exterior. The profile of the dome differs from the common type in lacking a pointed top. It is double shelled with an inner shell lower than the outer one. A device used in the mausoleums of Samarkand beginning in the Timurid period. The minaret placed to the left of the entrance. It built of white and red stone. It has three stories. The lowest of which is octagonal. Furthermore, it surmounted by a cornice that supports the first level. This first story has reduced to just a base set on inclined or prismatic triangles. The second story is also octagonal and terminates with a similar stalactite cornice. It supporting the second level. The third story has eight marble columns, bearing the bulb. On the first story, the two-colored inlaid masonry forms a sunrise motif.
There is a zigzag motif on the second story. On the second story there is only one small decorative balcony. It is where there are usually four, one on every second facet of the octagon. The huge portal of Amir Sarghatmish madrasa, designed like Sultan Hassan’s gigantic gates. It differs from other of the same period. It has stalactite pendentive triangles at the two corners. They are between the semi-dome and the rectangular recess. Above the Maxalas (stone benches), on both sides of the entrance, runs a band of inscriptions. It contains the name of the founder and the date of completion. After one passes through this gate, there is a small, twisting corridor. It has some beautiful lanterns and leads to the main open air court.
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Amir Sarghatmish mosque built according to a cruciform plan. It consists of open air court which called Sahn. It surrounded by four Iwans. The largest being the Qibla one. It consists of three bays. The middle one of which covered by a lofty dome resting on wooden stalactite pendentive. One of these Iwans covered with a large piece of green cloth and reserved for women. The Sahn, paved with colored marble. It is amazing especially for its bold, black and white floor and the windows in the buildings all around it. The space between the sides of the four Iwans and the corners of the sahn occupied by students’ cells. It is where they slept and studied. The side Iwans are of considerable size. So, they are not like the cruciform madrasas of Qalawun and al-Nasir Muhammad.
It leave little room on the lateral sides of the courtyard for the student living units. Some of the living units overlook the street, while others open onto the courtyard. This marks the beginning of the tendency to integrate madrasas into urban life. Situated in the center of the Sahn a domed water fountain. It surrounded by eight marble pillars. The only part reaming of the old fountain are the eight marble columns. Actually this is not the original fountain or dome but. It is suppose to be a good reproduction of the original one, though the dome itself is new. Parts of the damaged marble floor of the water fountain dismantled and restored.
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Missing fragments of Qur’anic texts embellishing the Sarghatmish mosque have replaced. The authentic white and black marble floor has cleaned and missing pieces replaced. The Qibla Iwan contains the Mihrab and the Minbar. It is typical as the largest one in the madrasa. The prayer hall has carved marble slabs. Some of which are in the Islamic Museum. The others are in another mosque in the neighborhood. The decorations on these slabs are floral. One of them has an interesting composition of arabesques with two hands. They hold a stalk, a lamp and birds. The marbles with animal representations and grapes found under the floor of Amir Sarghatmish madrasa. One of the slabs near the prayer niche has a medallion at its center.
It has an inscription with the founder’s name as well as a blazon of Sarghitmish. It also has a handkerchief, symbol of his function as jamdar, or amir in charge of the royal wardrobe. The functions of the various Amirs (Princes) represented in their blazons. It was common during the Bahri Mamluk Period. These blazons symbolized their functions at the royal court. Examples we can see today include a sword on the gate of the sword-carrier Manjaq al-Silahdar. They also include polo sticks carved at the mosque of Amir Almalik al-Juqandar. Moreover, they also include the polo master, a cup at the madrasa of Iljay al-Yusufi. They include also the Wakala of Qusum, who were cup bearers.
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The earliest example of a blazon on a Cairo building is a pair of lions facing each other. It is on Al-Zahir Baybars’ madrasa at Nahhasin. In this case, the emblem represented his name. Baybars can translated at lion. At the back of Qibla Iwan is the Mihrab which in colored marble. In fact, it situated in the middle of a marble dado. It is remarkable for two panels of white marble. Each of which engraved with raised ornamentation. It is in the form of a medallion in the center and four quarter medallions at the corners. There are two bands of inscriptions. One in the upper part and the other in the lower part of each panel. In fact, they bear the name of the founder. They echo the brass linings of the doors of some other Mamluk mosques. The Mihrab decoration is rather simple but nicely done.
In fact, The dome of the Mihrab is the oldest remaining one of a madrasa in Cairo. Moreover, it restored in 1940 using old photographs, after having collapsed. Furthermore, a dome over a Mihrab is an architectural feature. It forms a unique feature which distinguishes it from earlier and later ones. This dome does not have a double shell, as the dome of the mausoleum, though it has a high drum. We do not know whether the original dome had a double shell or not. The dome supported on wooden pendentives and covers the central bay of the prayer hall. Two flat-roofed bays on each side of the domed area. The minbar dates to 1706 and it constructed from fine brown wood. It has a golden Arabic inscription written above its door.
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There is also the name of the founder of the Minbar which given as Ahmed Azban. The date of the foundation which written in the Hegry calendar as 1118 H. It is a fine piece of Islamic art. Amir Sarghatmish madrasa features huge amazing lanterns. They hang all about the iwans. They made out of pure Egyptian brass and adorned. There is one huge lantern in each Iwan. On the far side of the northwestern Iwan is a door. It opens into the mausoleum, in the center of which is a cenotaph of fine craftsmanship. The domed area does not overlook the street. Adjoining it is a rectangular space which cross-vaulted and has windows. A similar device used at the mausoleum of Baybars al-Jashankir.
In both cases, this explained by the street alignment on one side and the Mecca orientation of the dome. Moreover, it is also in its relationship to the rest of the building on the other side. The mausoleum had a colored marble dado, of which a few fragments remain. Inside the floor covered with white and brown marble. There is a huge dome above the tomb of the Prince, which itself is plain. The dome is high and beautiful with a huge lantern hanging from its center. This dome built in 1940 to replace the old one, which demolished at the end of the nineteenth century. Amir Sarghatmish madrasa features exotic character of the domes. They associated with its dedication to Persian students. Though several similar domes found at Samarkand in Transoxia.
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In fact, all these examples are of a later date which built around the year 1400. There is no doubt though that these domes had a foreign prototype. They did not belong to a Cairene tradition. Furthermore, double-shell domes were common in Persia. A common prototype in Persia is the origin of both the Samarkand and Sarghitmish domes. A similar situation seen in Ibn Tulun Mosque. In fact, it is where features taken from Samarra mosques. And in the minaret of al-Nasir Mohammad at Cairo Citadel. Its Persian origins likewise cannot demonstrated in surviving structures. The double-shell dome built once more in Cairo at the Sultaniyya mausoleum.
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