The complex of Sultan Qayitbay in the Mamluk Cemetery.

The complex of Sultan Qayitbay in the Mamluk Cemetery.


Qayitbay’s complex is one of the most magnificent architectural complexes of Islamic architecture, representing the strength and wealth of the Mamluk period. The complex displays all the unique architectural features common in the Circassian Mamluk period. It was established by the Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Qayitbay in 877- 879 AH/ 1472- 1474 AD and is located in the Mamluk cemetery in Cairo.

The complex consists of a madrasa (school), a sabil, and a kuttab for teaching the Quran to impoverished Muslims. There is also a private burial ground for Sultan Qayitbay’s family. The madrasa consists of a courtyard surrounded by four iwans. It is one of the most important establishments, both for its architecture and role in society. The engineer responsible for this structure demonstrated consistency, symmetry, and beauty in his execution of the building, paying attention to the finest details. The most important feature of the madrasa is the main entrance, which is adorned with colored marble and bears several inscriptions. The door itself was gilded in copper designs. The muezzin’s (the person who is raises adhan or call for pray) name is inscribed upon the beautiful minaret.

There are elaborate wooden artifacts within the madrasa. These include a pulpit and a chair for the Qur’an reciter. Both were inlaid with ivory. In addition to the wooden dome (shokhshikha) which lies in the middle of the roof of the madrasa and decorated with golden decorations. The sabil-kuttab lies to the left of the madrasa’s entrance. The sabil is characterised by its colored marble tiles.










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