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Cairo's Historic Cemetery of al-Suyuti Conflicting Claims.



As with all the cemeteries of Cairo, this cemetery contains a mix of two kinds of funerary markers; tarkibas (cenotaphs) and hawshs (funerary enclosures). Cenotaphs range from simple mastabas to elaborate constructions in carved and coloured marble. Hawshs can contain, in addition to burial yards, living quarters for overnight stay, that in a few cases are gradually converted into apartments for permanent dwelling by the cemetery residents, or they can be basic walled enclosures that are open to the sky. In both cases, they accommodate elaborate rites of burial and visitation that are still practiced to this day.
This section includes a sample photo-documentation of all the structures one section of al-Suyuti cemetery. It also includes typologies of the different funerary structures to be found in addition to a discussion of funerary practices.
In addition to the raw beauty of some of these structures and more importantly, their collective quality as an urban ensemble, they are examples of a kind of funerary space that is unique to Cairo. Only Cairo has that distinctive mix of open spaces and built structures that act as a setting for a rich corpus of funerary rites and practices. They are also a seemingly contradictory mix of fluidity and stability in the sense that their typologies and the original architectural fabric of the structures remain the same, yet they are constantly altered, added to and taken from according to changes in tastes, available materials, social needs and religious beliefs as to the legality of these structures.