Cairo – North Gates and surroundings
North of Khan al-Khalili and al-Hussein mosque stretches fascinating, district full of monuments. This is the center of Fatimid Cairo, that can be traveled back and forth on foot in an hour.
It's best to focus on three complexes: Qalawuna-an-Nasira-Barquqa, al-Hakim mosque and Bayn al-Qasrain.
Stands of pot sellers appear behind the stalls of goldsmiths, bowls and cauldrons: to Suq an-Nahasin – Kotlarzy's souk. Under the Fatimids, it was a wide street, which the troops paraded "between two palaces" (that is what the name of the artery means). There are no palaces any more, but the street and name remained. On the right side of the bazaar there is a modest madrasah and the mausoleum of Sultan al-Salih Najm al-Din Ajjub, the last ruler of the Ayyubid family (1242-1250), who first formed the Mamluk troops. The Mamelukes have seized power, which was also attended by the ambitious widow of the Sultan, Shagar ad-Durr, forced to marry the mameluk Ajbaq. Ajub's madrassa was built between 1242 a 1244 r.
It was the first university to combine the four rites of Sunni Islam and became the prototype of the later Mamluk religious complexes.
On the other side of the street there is a complex erected in 1284 r. (other sources 1279) by Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun, the tireless slayer of the Crusaders, who died during the attack on the fortified Accra at the age of 79 years (1290). Apparently, there was work at the building 300 captured crusaders, who have completed their work in 13 months (the guards forced even ordinary passers-by to work, until the shaikhs announced it, that praying in such a mosque is a sin). The interior is entered through a bronze door. Madras (on the left) separates the mausoleum from the long, dark corridor. The interior is one of the most magnificent in Cairo: is inspired by the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. They are decorated with geometric and floral mosaics with the name of Muhammad woven into them. Maristan grows at the end of the complex (hospital), today a well-known ophthalmology clinic.
A little more modest madrasah and the mausoleum of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad adjoin the complex to the north., my first name, ruling Egypt between 1293 a 1340 r. During his reign, Mamluk Egypt reached the height of its power.
The complex was built in the years 1295-1304 is the first madrassa on the plan of a cross in the capital. The portal has been looted (1291) from the 13th-century Crusader Church of St.. John of Acre and it is probably the best example of this type of art in the world. Four livans (a kind of monumental recess) stands for the four schools of Sunni law.
The Mamluk period is not only about sacred architecture, but also secular architecture – houses and palaces. One example is the palace of Uthman Katkhuda (szari 'Bayn el-Qasrayn 9; ok. 1350 r.). From the entrance you go to the high one, narrow living room (qaa) with walls covered with wooden paneling, with a fountain in the middle.
Qasr Bashtak is one of the important points on the tourist route as it houses the Cairo History Museum. The palace was built by Emir Bashtak in 1334 r. Its two-story façade is decorated with marbles covering the windows. The entrance leads to the courtyard, from where you enter the living room with a marble floor.
Near the Qalawuna complex stands the sabil-kuttab Abd ar-Rahman Katkhuda built in 1774 r., delightful with decorations and shape. Building, funded by an 18th-century emir as compensation for his riotous lifestyle, is an example of a building in the Ottoman style that was very popular in Cairo. Well, from which all residents could draw water, it was as important as the school for the poorer Cairo people.
Keep walking down the street, you reach the recently restored Al-Akmar Mosque ("Gray", poetically known as "flooded with the light of the moon"; codz. 7.30-21.00), founded by Maamun al-Bataihi during the time of Caliph al-Munastir, during the political and spiritual crisis of the Fatimid authorities (1121-1125). Situated in the city center, on the main thoroughfare, it was a hypostyle building with a square courtyard. This is the first mosque in the city, whose facade stands in front of the qibla, because it was adapted to the course of the street.
The beautiful Byte residence draws attention to the sharia 'Darb al-Asfar (Beit) as-Suhaymi, probably the finest example of a ground floor Ottoman house (hello) were intended for men, and on the second floor there was a haramlik for women and children.
Medieval Cairo, like every city back then, they were surrounded by defensive walls with many gates, through which you could get inside. Today, only a small section of the northern part of the fortifications with two gates remains (Bab el-Futuh - Gate of Conquest, Bab an-Nasr - the Gate of Victory) and one gate to the south (Bab Zuwajla). North Gates, one of the most beautiful in Cairo, placed in 1087 r., and under Saladin it was strengthened.
They are adjacent to the al-Hakim mosque. They were built from stones broken from the veneer of the pyramids by three architectural brothers brought from Syria. Rectangular towers with protrusions, typical of Fatimid fortifications (Bab an-Nasr) they have central vestibules covered with a rib vault. Bab al-Futuh are two semicircular towers of the Roman type, connected with each other by a passage with a battlement above the vaulted gate. Once prisoners were kept in the casemates of the gate. You can visit the interior and walk on the crown of the walls. The road leads up the stairs inside the al-Hakim mosque and through the roof of the building.
Guards could ride horses in the vaulted corridor within the walls.
In the Bab an-Nasr cemetery to the north of the walls is the tomb of a Swiss traveler, the orientalist and writer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817), explorers of the Abu Simbel temples.
Returning south of Bab an-Nasr, one walks past Qaytbey's vice (XV w.), massive caravanserai. Further, at shari 'Gamaliya (former camel trail) the monastery is standing (khanąah) al-Muzaffar Baybarsa al-Jashankira (Baybars II, called "Gourmet"; Baybars al-Gashankir; codz. 11.00-21.00; napiwek) with a squat dome and a minaret of not the highest quality, and a raw courtyard. It is the oldest Sufi monastery in Cairo, founded in 1310 r.
Inside is the tomb of Baybars II.