Mosque of Qaitbey, Cairo Overview

Situated in the northern sector of the Mamluk district, i.e. the “City of Dead”, the mosque and madrasa of Late Sultan Qaitbey is bound to take you back to the Mamluk period with the pictures queue architecture of the place. The mosque, entirely built in 1474 AD, is another proof of Islamic architecture, justifying the excellence possessed by artisans and architects of Egyptian Mamluk period.

Over the years, most of the buildings have fallen down, and what remains intact present day is the mosque and the mausoleum. The compound even has a smaller mosque and mausoleum built for Sultan Qaitbey’s sons, also known as the maq’ad. The mosque compound also comprises of a water trough for animals, called the hod, and the apartment complexes which were meant for rental purposes during those days.

The architecture of the building, as well as the interiors within the mosque, are a vivid example of Islamic architecture, and the conventional geometrical pattern displayed through their works. This statement turns out to be true at every nook and corner of the place, the best example being the wooden lantern ceiling over the prayer hall inside the mosque.

Other examples of the jaw-dropping beauty of the mosque can be witnessed in the form of polychrome marble floor present on the ground floor of the mosque, and the main ceiling designed so as to facilitate central skylight into the mosque.

History

As per historical sources, there used to be a number of building-type structures within the vast compound of the mosque. All these structures fell within a single boundary wall of the mosque. In addition to this, there were even buildings built by Sultan Qaitbey himself in the area which happens to be on the other side of the street.

Not only this, there were some 80 buildings in the name of Sultan, which he designed and built in a prolific manner so as to establish them as benchmarks in the field of Islamic architecture and history. And being one of the last Mamluk rulers, Sultan Qaitbey closely followed the Mamluk style of making buildings, inscribing on them shades of his cultures and traditions.

Architecture of Mosque

You will find the architecture of Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey a masterpiece in itself, keeping aside the other attractive historical places of Cairo. One of the main features of the architecture of the place is that the entire place has been designed with due importance to directions. For example, the North direction, considered as the principal direction, contains the entrance of the madrasa.

The carvings made on the entrance gate are strict as per traditional Mamluk style, having a tri-lobed arch with muqarnas carved on them. Further, the eastern part of the entrance comprises of the water dispensary (Sabil), while the floor above the entrance gate has a Qur’anic School (Kuttab).

The entrance gate of the madrasa even showcases a minaret to its right. The minaret itself speaks about the noteworthy skillset possessed by artisans of those times along with geometrical designs imbibed on it.

But this is just a demonstration of craftsmanship. The actual pinnacle of designing and architecture is the dome of the mosque, which is carved with one of the most detailed, intricate and finest floral embroidery patterns ever made during the Mamluk era.

On entering the compound, the first thing you will witness is the boldly carved and striped façade. Further, the interior of the place comprises of four iwans surrounding a central platform, the court. The court is lit by huge lattice-screen panels, making the entire place an awe-inspiring sight for the visitors.

The interior of the mosque is also tiled in soothing coloured marble floor, and the magnificent wooden ceiling hanging from the top of prayer hall of the mosque gives the architecture of the place a finishing touch. Adjacent to the mosque, the tomb chamber consists of the cenotaphs of Sultan Qaitbey along with his sisters.

Apart from the mosque, the tomb chamber is also decorated with slender and decent stone minaret having intriguing floral patterns carved out of stone in a star based manner. Hence, since the entrance of the compound to the dome of the mosque, the Mosque and mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey is a pinnacle of Islamic architecture and Egyptian history in itself.

How to Reach within the City

There are different means by which you can reach the Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey.

Car
Either you are a local resident of Cairo city or you are a tourist, you can drive to the mosque either in your own vehicle or by hiring a taxi. The entrance of the Mosque and Mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey is situated on Gohar Al Kaed.

Subway
This will prove to be the most economically feasible mode of transportation in order to reach the Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey. For this, you can hop on to the subway from any part of the city, and get down at Bab El-Shaaria metro station. Once you have reached the metro station, you can hire a taxi to the mosque, which lies around 3.7 Kms. to the west of the metro station.

Bus
The easiest way to reach the Mosque and Mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey via bus is to get down at GO Bus station. From there, you can easily book a taxi to reach the mosque, which lies at an approximate distance of 3.4 Kms. south-west of the bus stop.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the mosque is during one or the other Islamic festival season. During such festivals, the mosque is decorated with beautifully decorated wall hangings and other items meant for decoration purposes.

Hence, the mosque gets transformed into a mesmerizing mantelpiece, showcasing the Islamic culture and traditions in an elegant yet beautiful manner. This culture is demonstrated by the huge gathering of people at the mosque, showcasing the true colours of the Egyptian community and culture in all senses.

Tips

It is advised to avoid carrying any sort of food item inside the mosque, especially in the prayer hall. Also, please wear some light footwear when visiting the mosque, as you will have to carry them along during your stay within the mosque building.

Interesting Facts

Sultan Qaitbey owned around 80 buildings across Cairo city when he was in power

Read More on Mosque of Qaitbey

History

As per historical sources, there used to be a number of building-type structures within the vast compound of the mosque. All these structures fell within a single boundary wall of the mosque. In addition to this, there were even buildings built by Sultan Qaitbey himself in the area which happens to be on the other side of the street.

Not only this, there were some 80 buildings in the name of Sultan, which he designed and built in a prolific manner so as to establish them as benchmarks in the field of Islamic architecture and history. And being one of the last Mamluk rulers, Sultan Qaitbey closely followed the Mamluk style of making buildings, inscribing on them shades of his cultures and traditions.

Tips

It is advised to avoid carrying any sort of food item inside the mosque, especially in the prayer hall. Also, please wear some light footwear when visiting the mosque, as you will have to carry them along during your stay within the mosque building.

Interesting Facts

Sultan Qaitbey owned around 80 buildings across Cairo city when he was in power

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the mosque is during one or the other Islamic festival season. During such festivals, the mosque is decorated with beautifully decorated wall hangings and other items meant for decoration purposes.

Hence, the mosque gets transformed into a mesmerizing mantelpiece, showcasing the Islamic culture and traditions in an elegant yet beautiful manner. This culture is demonstrated by the huge gathering of people at the mosque, showcasing the true colours of the Egyptian community and culture in all senses.

How to Reach within the City

There are different means by which you can reach the Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey.

Car
Either you are a local resident of Cairo city or you are a tourist, you can drive to the mosque either in your own vehicle or by hiring a taxi. The entrance of the Mosque and Mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey is situated on Gohar Al Kaed.

Subway
This will prove to be the most economically feasible mode of transportation in order to reach the Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey. For this, you can hop on to the subway from any part of the city, and get down at Bab El-Shaaria metro station. Once you have reached the metro station, you can hire a taxi to the mosque, which lies around 3.7 Kms. to the west of the metro station.

Bus
The easiest way to reach the Mosque and Mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey via bus is to get down at GO Bus station. From there, you can easily book a taxi to reach the mosque, which lies at an approximate distance of 3.4 Kms. south-west of the bus stop.

Architecture of Mosque

You will find the architecture of Mosque of Sultan Qaitbey a masterpiece in itself, keeping aside the other attractive historical places of Cairo. One of the main features of the architecture of the place is that the entire place has been designed with due importance to directions. For example, the North direction, considered as the principal direction, contains the entrance of the madrasa.

The carvings made on the entrance gate are strict as per traditional Mamluk style, having a tri-lobed arch with muqarnas carved on them. Further, the eastern part of the entrance comprises of the water dispensary (Sabil), while the floor above the entrance gate has a Qur’anic School (Kuttab).

The entrance gate of the madrasa even showcases a minaret to its right. The minaret itself speaks about the noteworthy skillset possessed by artisans of those times along with geometrical designs imbibed on it.

But this is just a demonstration of craftsmanship. The actual pinnacle of designing and architecture is the dome of the mosque, which is carved with one of the most detailed, intricate and finest floral embroidery patterns ever made during the Mamluk era.

On entering the compound, the first thing you will witness is the boldly carved and striped façade. Further, the interior of the place comprises of four iwans surrounding a central platform, the court. The court is lit by huge lattice-screen panels, making the entire place an awe-inspiring sight for the visitors.

The interior of the mosque is also tiled in soothing coloured marble floor, and the magnificent wooden ceiling hanging from the top of prayer hall of the mosque gives the architecture of the place a finishing touch. Adjacent to the mosque, the tomb chamber consists of the cenotaphs of Sultan Qaitbey along with his sisters.

Apart from the mosque, the tomb chamber is also decorated with slender and decent stone minaret having intriguing floral patterns carved out of stone in a star based manner. Hence, since the entrance of the compound to the dome of the mosque, the Mosque and mausoleum of Sultan Qaitbey is a pinnacle of Islamic architecture and Egyptian history in itself.

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