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Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia

On El-Mo'ez Street in Bin Al-Qasrain area in front of Bashtak Palace lies the remains of Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia built by Sultan El-Malek El-Kamel Nasser El-Din Mohammad in 662 AH/ 1225 Ad and Amir Hasan Katkhuda during Mohammad Amin Pasha's era.


Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia is the second school for teaching Hadith and Sunnah after the school established by El-Malek Al-Adel Noor El-Din Zenky in Damascus.  El-Malek El-Kamel built El-Madrasah El-Kamilia to be home to El-Hadith El-Sharif and El-Shafi'i School's scholars.    


Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia consists of a middle courtyard with two iwans and several rooms for students on both sides. There is nothing left of this school but the remains of the northern iwan which is covered with a pointed stone dome. As for the southern iwan, it is now the hanging mosque of Hasan Katkhuda El-Sharaawy. The mosque is an iwan for the qibla, and it is divided into three tiles parallel to the wall of the qibla by two marble columns.


Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia has a simple entrance with a triple arch and thresholds inscribed with a text in the Ottoman language.


It is worth mentioning that Al-Madrasah Al-Kamilia was known as Dar El-Hadith El-Kamilia because it taught different sciences of Hadith.





Madrasah of Al-Zaher Baibars al-Bunduqdari


The Madrasah of Al-Zahir Baibars was built during the Mamluk era in 660 A.H on El-Mo'ez Street adjacent to El-Saleh Negm El-Din Ayoub tomb. It is one of the Islamic schools in the Mamluk era. It consists of a courtyard surrounded by four iwans, and each side has an entrance leads to the sabil attached to the school, student rooms, and bathrooms.  Recently what remains of the school is the entrance's right side, part of the southern iwan, and the tasbil room of the sabil. Al-Madrasa Al-Zaheria has a distinctive feature, which is the inscription of Al-Zaher Baibars rank on its windows, which means panther in the Turkish language.


It is also written on the western façade of the school built by the order of Sultan Baibars, El-Malek El-Zaher, in 660 A.H. 




 Madrasa of Al-Salih Negm Al-Din Ayyub

The madrasa is located on a distinctive site on El-Mo'ez le Din Allah Street (Bayn al-Qasrain area). The Madrasa of Al-Salih Negm Al-Din Ayyub was erected on the site where the Fatimid Eastern Palace once stood. It was built to teach the four Sunni schools of fiqh (jurisprudence), and is considered to be the first school built in Egypt for that purpose. Shagarat Al-Durr, the wife of the sultan, Al-Salih Negm Al-Din, added a mausoleum in which the sultan was buried in AH 648 / AD 1250.


Thus, an Ayyubid architectural complex was built in the heart of Fatimid Cairo that offered the city a new architectural style. Much admired by the Mamluks, the new manner was imitated in the Mamluk complexes that gradually extended along El-Mo'ez Street, forming the main artery of the City of Cairo.




From the beginning of the AH 5th / AD 11th century the Islamic state participated actively in the building of schools that were high-level educational foundations aimed at religious instruction according to the four Sunni Schools of Law (Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbalii and Hanafii).


The main façade of the madrasa was built from dressed stone aligned with meticulous attention and composed of a tripartite structure. In the middle section (the entrance) there is a horizontal band of inscription carved in the naskhi script which bears the name of the builder and which offers supplications for him. In the middle of this section, which is surmounted by a lintel composed of interlocking voussoirs, is an arched niche ornamented by five rows of muqarnas which crowns the entrance.


The madrasa has a minaret, which rises above the entrance block indicating the entrance that today leads to the Salehia Alley. The minaret, built of brick covered with white plaster, is the only remaining intact minaret of the Ayyubid dynasty.



The minaret is crowned above the octagonal form with two rows of muqarnas, topped by a lobed dome. This type of minaret is called al-mabkhara (the incense burner) due to the distinctive octagonal section and the dome, which crowns it closely, resembling Ayyubid metal incense burners.


This style of minaret continued to be popular up to the beginning of the Mamluk period, as seen in the minaret of the Khanqah of Baibars Al-Gashanqir dating to AH 709 / AD 1310.


The plan of the madrasa is composed of two identical buildings (the schools) which have a single, shared, entranceway and a shared façade. The entrance leads to a passageway with two opposing doors. The eastern door leads to the two iwans of the Maliki and Shafi'i Schools, and the western door leads to the two iwans of the Hanbali and Hanafi Schools.


Source: Discover Islamic Arts Website



Al-Madrasah Al-Ashrafia (Madrasah of Al-Sultan Al-Ashraf Barsbay)


Al-Madrasah Al-Ashrafia is located on Al-Mo'ez Street in the heart of Cairo, where many other unique Islamic monuments and madrasahs exist/ situated like El-Madrasah El-Mansouria, El-Nahasin Complex, and El-Ghori Complex. The Madrasa of Al-Ashraf Barsbay has a distinctive and strategic location among these monuments. Al- Madrasah Ashrafia was named after its owner Al-Sultan El-Malek Al-Ashraf Barsbay El-Zahery, who built the school on Al-Mo'ez Street.


Al-Madrasah Al-Ashrafia is one of the greatest Mamluk madrasahs as it reflects one of the Islamic greatest ages, which is the age of Burji Mamluks (Circassian Mamluks). The madrasah is a charitable building that includes a sabil to provide fresh water to passersby and a kuttab for teaching orphans reading and writing as well as the Quran.


Moreover, the madrasah was built for teaching the four Sunni schools of Islam and Sufism at the same time, and it also served as a mosque. 


Al-Madrasah Al-Ashrafia has the same common architectural design of the Burji Mamluk era, which consists of a courtyard surrounded by four iwans, the biggest of which is the iwan of the qibla, mausoleum, sabil, kuttab, and residence for the school's sheikh. The student dorms are on the upper floor.


The madrasah is characterized by a façade in the Ablaq style (an architectural technique involving alternating or fluctuating rows of light and dark stone). It has two facades; a southeast façade and a northeast façade. The entrance to the school is on the southern end of the southeast façade which is designed in the Ablaq style and decorated with the sultan rank (the sultan's seal).


The entrance leads to a square space with two arched doors, which lead to a sabil and square vestibule and the courtyard is at the end of this vestibule and surrounded by four iwans, the biggest of which is the iwan of the qibla. The qibla iwan is characterized by marble decorations, wooden minbar, and mihrab. On the left side of the mihrab, there is minbar decorated with different star patterns.


Furthermore, the madrasah has a square minaret with a series of muqarnas tiers that carry the first balcony wrapped around the square shaft of the minaret. At the top of the minaret, there is an onion-shaped dome crowned by a crescent.