(click image to enlarge)
This watercolour of the historic heart of Cairo presents a view south through the old cotton bazaar towards the monumental complex of Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri. Built between 1503 and 1505, the complex straddles both sides of al-Mu’izz Street in the Fahhamin quarter. On the eastern side (to the left of the image) stands the building housing the Sultan’s mausoleum (identified by its dome), a khanqah (designed for the gathering of Sufis), a sabil (or water distribution kiosk) and kuttab (Islamic primary school). On the western side (the right) stands the congregational mosque-madrasa (identified by its minaret). The projection of the sabil-kuttab at the north and of the minaret at the south together create a kind of square. This was rented to stallholders to provide an income to help maintain the complex. Despite such maintenance, the dome of the mausoleum proved unstable and was replaced by a flat wooden roof at the end of the nineteenth century. Today, the mosque-madrasa remains in use, while the khanqah-mausoleum is open to visitors as a historic site.