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Al-Ghouri Complex

Sultan Qansuh Al-Ghouri was a Mamluk sultan, who had reigned from 1501 to 1516, before dying in a battle against the Ottomans in Aleppo, which resulted in a complete defeat for the Mamluks, due to which they lost their prominence in Egypt.


Al-Ghouri spent a fortune on building his complex in Cairo which dates back to 1503. Although he was renowned for his cruelty and despotism, he was also known for his love of flowers, music, poetry and architecture. His cultural refinement emanates from the different features of the complex.


The construction stands on both sides of Al-Mo'ez Street; the mosque and madrasa stand on the western side, whereas you will find the Khanqah, mausoleum and Sabil-Kuttab on the eastern side of the famous street. The mausoleum is however not the final resting place of the Sultan, whose body was never recovered after the Aleppo battle.




The two parts of the complex aren’t adjusted to the street alignment, thus creating a free shaped courtyard in between the two buildings. The mosque’s minaret has four stories, just like the original minaret of the Aqsunqur mosque (The Blue Mosque). These are the only two minarets in Cairo known to have four stories, instead of the usual three.


Since 1995, the complex hosts various cultural events in the Khanqah hall, mostly Nubian music concerts, Tannoura dance performances, and religious recitals.


Source: Egyptian Tourism Authority


Qalawun Complex


Al-Mo'ez Street in Cairo houses a fascinating complex that reflects the greatness of the Mamluk architecture which is the Qalawun Complex. It consists of a mosque, a madrasa, a mausoleum, and a hospital. It has two sections  


The Qalawun Complex was built by the order of Mansour Seif El-Din Qalawun in 684 A.H (1285 AD).  The complex included a mausoleum to be a burial place for him and his family, a madrasa for religious rituals and teaching different kinds of science, and a maristan to cure all diseases and to teach medicine.



The oldest Hospital in Egypt

Qalawun Maristan is the oldest hospital in Egypt, and there are many stories of why it was built. Some argued that Sultan Al-Mansour built the hospital as an atonement for his sins, according to Ibn Iyas in his book "Badai Alzuhur Fi Wakayi Alduhur".


Others argued that the reason behind building the hospital is that when Qalawun was visiting the Levant " Billad El-Sham", he got severely ill. He was then treated by doctors and medicines brought from Nour El-Din Mohammad Maristan in Damascus.  After he recovered, he visited the maristan, and he was impressed by it. So, he vowed to God that he would build a similar hospital when he becomes the king. Qalawun established the hospital for all kinds of treatment, but in 1856 it became a mental hospital.


Qalawun Maristan had doctors of all specialties, nurses, and necessary equipment and medicines. Recently, nothing left of the hospital except for some ruined parts like a section of the eastern iwan consisting of a marble fountain and a shadirwan (wall fountain) decorated with fine marble and resembled that in al-Aziz Palace (Zisa) in Palermo, Sicily.


Sitt Al-Mulk:

Qalawun chose Sitt al-Mulk hall to build the maristan. The hall belonged to Sitt al-Mulk, a daughter of the Fatimid Caliph, al-Aziz bi Allah, which later became a possession of Mo'anisa Khatun, a daughter of Al-Malik Al-Adel Al-Ayyubi. The hall was situated at the end of the complex and consisted of four iwans.


The mausoleum's dome is the most significant part of the Qalawun Complex. It consists of an octangle base on four marble square pillars that have four columns covered with fine marble. the external facade was made of red and white square stones and the minaret made up of three stories.