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Complex of Sultan Qaytbay

The Complex of Sultan Qaytbay situates in one of the side street few meters away from the Tom of Barquq and the Complex of Barsbay known as El-Suq Street. It can be reached also from Salah Salem Street, El-Qarafaa. This complex is erected by Sultan Qaytbay, one of the great constructors in Egypt who is credited to renovating and erecting a large number of buildings that still exist. There are about seventeen monumental places all over Egypt immortalizing his name till now including the Sabil-Kuttab Wikala and Hod of Qaytbay in El-Shaykh Mohammed Abdu Street. He was one of the prominent Mamluks at the time of Sultan Barsbay and he managed to rise to the rank of Chief of the Army in a very short period. Qaytbay assumed the power of Egypt in the period from 1468 to 1496 till his death at the age of 82. The complex contains a Rabe or a number of rooms whose rent was used for the maintenance and upkeep of the complex. Most of the complexes at that time were attached to a Rabe that was used also for away for providing for the relatives of the Sultan and were usually given to the Mamluk noblemen. From the great building that was once a commercial center on the road from Syria to Egypt one can see some attractive remains such as the portal, the Minaret, and the dome. This complex encloses also a beautiful fountain next to the Mausoleum of Qaytbay that was used for providing the animals of the travelers with water. The water of this fountain was provided by a Saqiya or a wheel at the back of the building.

Of special interest in the façade of the Mosque of Qaytbay in this complex are the beautiful masonry that beautifies the frames of the doors and windows, the iron medallions over the portal, and the vestibule that links between the entrance and the interior plan. The interior plan of the mosque consists of a small central courtyard surrounded by four richly decorated aisles on its sides. The composite style of decoration with its calligraphic, geometric, star, and arabesque patterns used in the ceiling and other parts of the building highlight the impact of the Islamic art. The Minaret of the Mosque is handsomely decorated from outside with Quran inscriptions and other star patterns that were commonly used at that time. The Mausoleum of Sultan Qaytbay is placed after the sanctuary aisle. This tomb is distinguished by its luxurious style of decoration and its dome is admired for its height and its richly decorated exterior part with the concave and convex moldings in the transition zone that can be seen when the one climbs to the roof of the mosque. In the west of the Mosque-Mausoleum of Qaytbay, there is a two-story building that consists of some storerooms in the first floor and a Maqaad or a reception room with a graceful façade in the second one. This structure involves also a simply decorated shrine that was established by Qaytbay when he was an Emir. This tomb contains the body of the Turkish Sufi El-Gulshani who inhabited the mosque of Qaytbay till his death and then was buried in this tomb while Qaytbay is buried in his splendid tomb hereabout.

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