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Al Ghouri complex Cairo

Al Ghouri complex Cairo Egypt

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Al Ghouri complex Cairo built as a funerary complex established by Sultan Qansuh Al Ghouri. In fact, Al Ghouri complex built between 1503 and 1504. It was in the Fahhamin quarter on Al Mu’izz street in Islamic Cairo. There was a clear decline in the quality of craftsmanship. Moreover, it was particularly in stone carving and marble inlay during his reign. Al Ghouri complex indeed is an interesting architectural composition. It built on both sides of a street. In this regard, they form one of the most impressive hyphen, or double ensembles in Cairo. The western side in Al Ghouri complex includes a Friday madrasa and mosque. They built on the Qa’a plan. The eastern side of Al Ghouri complex includes a Khanqah and mausoleum as well as a Sabil kuttab.

In fact, Qansuh Al Ghouri was the next to last Mamluk sultan. Moreover, he was the last to enjoy a reign of any duration between 1500 and 1516 AD. Al Ghouri seems to have an energetic fellow who was still playing polo in his 70s. Furthermore, he was also a somewhat arbitrary depot who could be cruel and superstitious. Al Ghouri appears to have taken his responsibilities and was a great builder. He also loved flowers and music. Moreover, he wrote poetry and attracted to Sufi and other pious men. He died (some say of a heart attack) fighting the Ottoman Turks outside Aleppo. He followed the defection of Amir Khayrbak in the midst of the battle. His body never found. His tomb was thus occupied by his successor the unfortunate Tumanbay. Tumanbay buried in the courtyard of Al Ghoury complex behind the mausoleum.

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The madrasa at Al Ghouri complex inaugurated on the eve of the Feast of the Sacrifice. Feast of the Sacrifice called Eid Al Adha in Arabic language. It was in May 1503 with a great banquet which attended by the Abbasid Caliph Mustamsek. Mustamsek was the chief judges of the four orthodox rites. The madrasa and mosque at Al Ghouri complex built in the late Mamluk cruciform style. They inspired by Qaitbay’s Mausoleum and Madrasa. But they are larger in scale and their details are less elegant. The western facade of Al Ghouri complex has a trilobed stalactite portal. It also has a tiraz band and a minaret projecting at its south edge. The minaret of Al Ghouri complex is atypical of this period. Mamluk minarets consist of square, octagonal and round layers.

This four story minaret is rectangular from top to bottom with arched panels on each side. The top of Al Ghouri complex had four bulbs instead of just one. They made of brick covered with green tiles. In 1505, the minaret was leaning. It reconstructed and the upper part made with bricks covered with blue faience tiles. The present top with five bulbs is a modern addition and a misrepresentation of the original one. There were already minarets with double bulbs such as those at Qanibay Al Rammah mosque. When Muhammad Bey Abu Al Dahab built his Mosque, he crowned its minaret with five bulbs. The red and white checkerboard squares that adorn the minaret actually painted on. There is distinctive poly-chrome marble dado. It flagging laid in geometric patterns and gilt.

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It painted wood paneling. There is a central sunken and open courtyard which surrounded by four Iwans. The two largest of the Iwans have Moorish arches. The smaller two have raised arches. The interior paved and paneled with black and white marble. Stone carving covers the walls but it is of poor quality, shallow and repetitive. The stalactites that frame the upper walls of the covered courtyard, underneath the skylight. The Khanqah and mausoleum of Al Ghouri complex function as a cultural center today. The Khanqah is a religious hostel for Sufi monks. The facade of the khanqah and mausoleum also has a trilobed stalactite portal and a tiraz band. On its northern edge a sabil-kuttab projects into the street with three facades.

The interior of the sabil-kuttab is decorative, with marble floors. The ceiling supported by rounded, painted and gilt beams. From the vestibule of Al Ghouri complex, the funeral chamber is on the right. To the left is a prayer hall with three Iwans which distributed around the raised. They covered part of a lantern. The mausoleum of Al Ghouri complex was on the south side of the interior. Now it has only its rectangular base and transition zone of the dome. The dome made of brick and covered over with green tiles. It collapsed at the beginning of the 1900s. Actually, the dome had been unstable from the beginning. It rebuilt three times during Al Ghouri’s lifetime. The builder never got it right. The mausoleum dome of Imam Shafi’i also covered at one time with green tiles. It was perhaps after Al Ghouri’s restoration.

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The transition zone of Al Ghouri complex made of stone pendentives. Perhaps the most interesting feature here the carved surface of the wall. The marble slabs that once decorated the madrasa, having confiscated by Al Ghouri. It was from someone else in the first place. They were in turn confiscated and taken to Istanbul by Selim I in 1517. On the left or north side of the entrance vestibule is a qa’a, which here called a khanqah. No living units attached to it. Earlier Khanqahs did provide housing for Sufi. This one was increasing rare during the late Mamluk period. The Waqf deed states that Sufi should have their meetings there. It does not refer to any living accommodations provided for them. There are a few living units attached to the madrasa across the street. It was student housing those the foundation deed does not mention teaching activities.

These structures are an example of a royal religious foundation. They are with facades which not adjusted to the street alignment. In fact, they instead make an angle, leaving the space between the two facades widening into a sort of square. The square of Al Ghouri complex is semi-enclosed at the north ends. Moreover, it is by the projection of the Sabil-Kuttab of the mausoleum. At the south end is by the projection of the minaret of the madrasa. The square rented for market stalls. It was the income which contributed to Al Ghouri’s endowment of the foundation. At one time, the square roofed over. And when David Roberts drew the square in 1839, it was a silk market.

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In fact, this support continues even today. Moreover, there are still shops here on both sides of the street. The rend now collected by the Ministry of Waqfs. Furthermore, it used in maintaining the religious buildings and their personnel. In fact, Al Ghouri himself never buried in his mausoleum. Several others buried before the sultan’s death. The first was his daughter in 1505. It followed by his son, Nasser Al Din Muhammad and by one of his concubines. The latter two were victims of the plague. In 1510, Al Ghouri also had the three year old daughter of his secretary of State, Tumanbay, buried here.

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Al Aqmar mosque Cairo

Al Aqmar mosque Cairo Egypt

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Al Aqmar mosque Cairo located in the heart of Cairo city. In fact, Al Aqmar mosque located north of the site which once occupied by the great Fatimid. Moreover, Al Aqmar means the Moonlit and sometimes also known as the Gray Mosque. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo founded by Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi, during the caliphate of al-Mustanser. Moreover, it built during a time of great political and spiritual crises for the Fatimid regime. It located on the main artery of the city. In plan, it is a regular, rectangular hypo-style mosque with a square courtyard. It is the plan of a small congregational mosque. This structure is of major importance for Cairo’s architecture for several reasons. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo indeed is one of the seminal monuments in Cairo’s architectural history.

Al Aqmar mosque is the first mosque with an entrance which is not on an axis with the qibla wall. Here, the facade follows the alignment of the street, while the qibla wall oriented to Mecca. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo is the first with a ground plan adjusted to an existing urban street plan. A phenomenon which over the ensuing centuries was to become common and complex. Here, the plan is rather simple. The interior of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has a regular layout with the exception. The exception is that the facade wall is thicker on one end than the other. Into the thicker part of the wall, a vestibule, a staircase and two rooms opening into the interior. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo is also the first mosque in Cairo to have a decorated stone facade.

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The facade is brick which faced with stone. A wing to the right of the entrance salient covered up by a later house. In the 1980s, a restoration unveiled the hidden part. It returned the facade to its original balanced proportions. This restoration done by the Bohara Indian sect. The middle of the tripartite composition dominated by a protruding portal. It decorated with a large keel arch niche. They carved with fluting radiating from a central medallion. It is like a sunrise or shell motif. The medallion has the name of Muhammad repeated in a circular interlacing pattern. It forms a circle, with the name ‘Ali at the center, all in Kufic and pierced right through the stone.

This is all surrounded by a circle of arabesque. And also of pierced Kufic, with a final circular band decorated with interlacing scrolls. The work of engraving and piercing shows both skill and perfection. The ribbed shell hood of the entrance salient is with its pierced medallion. It appears here for the first time. Moreover, it was the prototype of all the later ribbed. Moreover, it is blind and keel arch decoration which remains somewhat vogue on Cairo’s buildings. The niches on either side of the entrance each crowned with four tiers of stalactites. Set back within these are two smaller ones. Each has a small fluted semi-dome. Above these two niches are two small ones. Each has a fluted hood and supported by two engaged columns.

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To the left of the portal another shallow niche. It repeats the sunrise or shell motif with a medallion in the center. Above it, a circular clean cut in the stone reveals the brick wall. It indicates that a medallion once existed there. Two lozenges, one with geometric carving and the other with a vase and plant motif. They surmounted on both sides of the missing medallion by two strange, carved panels. The one to the right represents a closed door. It is like the door of Al Hakim. It is now in the Islamic Museum. The one to the left shows a niche with a geometric grill resembling a window. From its apex hangs a lamp. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has a symbolic meaning within a Shi’a context.

The two plants standing in the vase has interpreted to be symbolic of Hasan and Husayn. They are the sons of the Caliph ‘Ali by his wife Fatima. This pattern is also repeated in Christian Coptic art. There are many examples existing in the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo. The niches with the hanging lamp and closed door placed. On each side of the missing medallion there is more decoration. There are three inscription bands that run along the facade of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo. The first is at the summit. It contains the name of Al Amir Bi-Ahkam-Allah. And next to it is the name of his Wazir (Minister) Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi. They are together with his titles, and the date of foundation. The second runs at the springing of the entrance arch.

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In fact, it also contains the names of al- Ma’mun and his titles and the date of foundation. The third band runs at the level of the door lintel and only contains verses from the Quran. Another special feature of the facade is a corner which carved with the names of Muhammad and ‘Ali. The original minaret of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has not survived. We can see on the left door jamb of the portal the circular base of the minaret. It built in the late fourteenth century by Amir Yalbugha Al Salami. In fact, it is a brick construct which covered with stucco chevron. Moreover, it carves and a molding with open work bosses and a stalactite cornice. Above the balcony, the structure is of even later date. The interior of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has not retained much of its original form.

The small sanctuary has three aisles and faces the courtyard with only a triple arcade. The closet door of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo features a fine example of Fatimid wood. It is with panels of arabesque ornament. On the northwest side of the sanctuary. The three other arcades have only one aisle each. Bands of Quranic verse in Kufic script on an arabesque background still survive. They are around the keel arches of the courtyard, which supported on marble columns. The keel arches did not appear in Egypt until the latter part of the Fatimids period. They first seen in the dome of Sheikh Ynis, attributed to Badar al-Gamali. The spandrels decorated with shallow saucers. They composed of eight ribs radiating from a central medallion.

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There is special feature of the interior architecture. It is that each bay’s ceiling covered by a shallow brick dome instead of being flat. In fact, it is except for the aisle parallel to the qibla wall, which is wider than the rest. Moreover, it covered with a flat wooden ceiling. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo was in ruins when the Mamluk Amir Yalbugha al-Salami restored it in 1396/97. (799H). Some scholars assume that he also restored the ceiling. The ceiling hase been flat. This type of ceiling not known from the Fatimids period. It used in the early fifteenth century at the mosque of Faraj Ibn Barquq. Yalbugha al-Salami also restored the minbar of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo. It retains its Fatimid ornament. It can observed on the entrance arch and at the back of the speaker’s seat.

Nothing of the original interior decoration remains. It is except some wood carving on the beams and doors. Moreover, it is also except a stucco inscription band along some of the arches. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo once again restored in the nineteenth century. It was during the reign of Muhammad Ali by Amir Sulayman Agha Al Silahdar. Al Silahdar also built the mosque across the street from this one. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo was not at street level as it is today. In fact, it was much higher than the street and stands above a row of shops. The rising ground level has now buried the these shops. At the time, they had an important function. The income of their rents were waqf.

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Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo Egypt

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo information, tours, prices, booking

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo located in the Azhar Street, just beside the main entrance of Azhar Mosque. In fact, Abu Al Dahab mosque built in 1774 AD after a year of construction. Moreover, Abu Al Dahab mosque built as a Madrasa. It was to host the increasing number of students who were coming to study in Al Azhar University. They are from all over the world. In the year 1771, Mohamed Abu Al Dahab appointed by Amir Ali Beh Al Kabir. It was to be the leader of the Egyptian army that went to conquer Syria. He was successful in his campaign as he took control of many towns in Syria and around it. Moreover, he was not loyal to his master, Amir Ali Beh Al Kabir. He murdered him in 1774, and became the only ruler of Egypt before his death in Aka in 1775.

In fact, his body buried in the mausoleum of his mosque. The mosque is the fourth mosque which built in Cairo according to the Ottoman style of architecture. The first one was the mosque of Suleiman Pasha in the Citadel which built in the year 1528. The second one was the mosque of Sinan Pasha in Boulaq. The third one was the Mosque of the Queen Safeya in Al Dawedeya. In fact, the mosque has many common architectural factors with the mosque Of Sinan Pasha. Moreover, Abu Al Dahab mosque constructed as a rectangle. The length of 33 meters from the South to the North and 24 meters from the East to the West. The praying area of the mosque surrounded with Rewaqs. The Arabic expression for the area between a set of two opposite pillars.

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These Rewaqs covered with small domes with plant decorations all around them. Above the praying area, there is the main dome of Abu Al Dahab mosque that is a semi square. In fact, the length of each side of this square is 15 meters. Moreover, each has two brass windows that covered with alabaster. Furthermore, the mosque is a hanging mosque as it built above the street level. Under Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo, there are many different stores that sell books. They are from the Eastern and Northern sides.

In fact, there was a set of colored alabaster stairs in its Northern side. It led to the gate of the mosque, and another set circular stairs that led to the Mosques Eastern gate. These two sets of stairs changed, although the doors of the mosque remained the same. The minaret of the mosque indeed is huge. It looks much like the minaret of the mosque of Qonswa Al Ghuri. They both share the Egyptian style of architecture. They are other than the Ottoman mosques that were famous for their thin pen shaped minarets. The minaret of the mosque of the mosque is tall and consists of three stores with five stone heads at the top.

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The Mihrab of the mosque located under the main dome of the mosque. It is a carved wall that has beautiful alabaster and mother of pearl decorations. The Mihrab of this mosque is unique, built in the Ottoman period, as it designed in the Mamluks style. Next to the Mihrab, there is the Minbar. It made out of fine wood that ornamented with pieces of mother of pearl and ivory. Beside the Minbar there is a brass room. It contains the tombs of the mosque builder, Mohamed Beh Abu Al Dahab, and his daughter, Zelikha Hanem

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