The madrasa and khanqa of Sultan Barquq is located on al-Mu’izz street and is known as the Zahiriya school. King Zahir Abu Sa’id Barquq ordered its construction, which began in 786 AH / 1384 AD. Its inauguration took place two years later, in 788 AH / 1386 AD. This madrasa lies in the middle of one of the world’s largest architectural heritage complexes.
A charitable foundation was established here by al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun for his madrasa. The school itself taught the four Islamic legal schools and contained a mosque and a Sufi khanqa. A domed shrine inside the structure serves as the burial place of his father and of some of his wives and children.
The building, with its many exquisite architectural and decorative elements, is an architectural marvel. It is composed of an open court, four iwans, the largest of which is the one on the side of the direction for prayer. It contains a marble mihrab, a wooden pulpit, a stand for the Qur’an, and a prayer platform (dikka). The establishment was also equipped with several branch-schools, wings for Sufis, rooms for students, a kitchen, and a washroom. The building’s façade is surmounted by a minaret and a dome that has been restored by the Assembly for the Preservation of Arab Antiquities in 1310 AH / 1892 AD.
The madrasa of Sultan Barquq is characterized by inscriptions from the Qur’an in the naskh script, a foundation inscription, the marble panels and marvellously decorated ceiling of the largest iwan.