Strict Standards: Non-static method MAIN::siteLangue() should not be called statically in /home1/web2pro/public_html/suyuti.net/config/config.php on line 52
Cairo's Historic Cemetery of al-Suyuti Conflicting Claims.

Mausoleum of al-Sultaniyya

Sultaniyya Mausoleum and Minaret (Monument no. 288 and 289)

This double-domed structure is the study zone’s most memorable building and consists of two Persian style domes framing an iwan. The minaret standing in isolation called "the northern minaret" by the Comite and the double domed structure were originally part of one large funerary complex.

Like most of the study-zone’s Mamluk buildings, both its identification and naming are debatable. The most common theory is that it was built by the mother of Sultan Hasan. This is based on the waqfiyya of Masih Pasha that places such a building south of the later Ottoman complex. Earlier maps of the area also identify it as such, but call the founder Khwand Samra, which was not her name. Creswell refuses this early date and prefers placing the foundation of the complex in the second half of the fifteenth century. 

In all cases, the mausoleum of al-Sultaniyya is a very ineresting architectural object, which still is in need for serious architectural documentation and further historical research. A building as impressive as that cannot be missed from the pages of history. In the article below, all that is presented is a thourough and detailed visual inspections and suggestions that might open new horizons in understanding the building.


Read More...........

Sultaniyya Mausoleum and Minaret

Monument no. 288 and 289

 

Preamble

Two similar, but not identical, domes cover two burial chambers and flank a central stone vaulted iwan. A minaret (now isolated) once stood at the Northern corner of the complex. It is not clear whether the complex had a second minaret (In our theoretical reconstruction, we have added a second dome). Other structures set within a wall must have encircled the premises. A portal or gateway must have been planned, but no traces survive.

 

Identification and Dating

These two structures left in isolation within a reasonable proximity from each other: a double domed mausoleum and a minaret, have risen serious arguments concerning their founder and foundation date, but all have most rightfully agreed upon the fact that they belong to a single institution, which has lost most of its architectural components, leaving the double domed mausoleum and the minaret in isolation from each other.

As for the dating and nomenclature of this mausoleum and minaret, suggestions were made, but as the monument preserved in its two surviving structures possess only Quranic verses and no foundation inscription, the founder still remains anonymous and founding date unknown.

On the Cairo map of the Description de l’Égypte, “El Soultaniyeh” and “Gama el Soultan Qeysoun” are the only two names of monuments mentioned in al-Suyuti area. Thus as early as the French expedition (1798-1801), this huge building was called al-Sultaniyya. Later, these structures were identified as “turbat Khwand Umm al-Sultan Hasan” (al-Sultaniyya) and “al-manara wa turbat Khwand Umm al-Sultan Hasan” (al-Manara al-Bahariyya) in the 1:2000 Egyptian Survey maps of 1930, and this name remained the same in the monument list and map of 1948.

Historical sources we depend on to grasp information on buildings erected during the Mamluk period, such as al-Maqrizi, Ibn Ayyas, and Taghri Bardi, mention nothing about these structures. The only historical evidence we have is the wakfiyya of Masih Pash (1660), which locates the institution to which these two structures belonged, and, furthermore, attributes it to the Mother of al-Sultan Hasan. The Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi confirms this information and mentions in his accounts that the edifice of Sultan Hasan’s mother is next to those of Masih Pasha and Qusun. 

As for art historical analysis, Creswell, in his Brief Chronology of Mohammedan Monuments (1919) is the first to tackle this issue. He linked the double domed mausoleum and the minaret to the second half of fifteenth century Timurid architectural models in Samarqand. So, based on stylistic similarities, he rejects the earlier suggested date of foundation. Another interesting analysis is done by Makar in her al-Sultaniyya MA dissertation at AUC (1972), in which she presented evidence that the style of the minaret and the use of a two-layer (external and internal) bulbous domes which rest on a tall drum and decorated with muqarnas friezes is not unseen in Cairo before the second half of the fifteenth century. According to her, the minaret of Sultan Hasan’s mosque-madrasa and the dome of Sarghitmish are two examples that pre-date Creswell’s Timurid theory. So, in her thesis, she retains the popular attribution to the mother of Sultan Hasan. Meinecke (1992), Abu‘l-’Amayim (2000) and Abouseif (2010) adopt Makar’s thesis and reject the Timurid attribution of Creswell. Abouseif confirms that in light of historical reports that mention that Sultan Hasan was an orphan and that he was brought up by a Tartar stepmother, Abouseif suggests that this “imposing masonry monument, with a vaulted iwan in the style of Sultan Hasan’s own madrasa, seems to have been a memorial of special significance to the founder”. Thus, the majority of art historians, except for Creswell, date the complex to the 1350-60s AD.

 

Description of the double domed structure

The structure is composed of two similar but not identical mausoleums, a northern one and a southern one, connected together with a huge vaulted iwan. The structure as it has survived has two long facades and two shorter ones. The domes stand behind these facades with a bizarre visual relationship because of their high necks and their inward placement compared to the facades’ top cornice. Also the absence of the common Cairene external formal stepped reflection of the internal transitional zone makes them look like two domes planted on the roof. Because of this disconnection, here we will first describe the lower facades of the structure, and then we will tackle the domes and their interiors.

The northwestern façade includes the lower cuboidal façades of the southern and northern domes and the large iwan between them. The lower parts of the domes are identical with a rectangular central doorway topped with double lintels equipped with simple joggled voussoirs, flanked by two rectangular windows on each side of the door (also topped with similar double lintels), surmounted by two semi-circular arched small windows. The door of the northern dome and all the lower rectangular windows are now blocked. The middle section of the façade is occupied by a huge iwan realized by a pointed arched vault. The vault looks unbalanced because of the difference between the silhouette of the pointed arch on the façade and on the easternmost wall inside the iwan. As this section is a complete reconstruction by the Comité, they must have had difficulty in adjusting the architectural remains of the vault to their new addition. This might also be the result of lack of masterly masonry workmanship used by the Comité then, or the result of an originally brick tunnel vault, which was reconstructed in stone, which caused some formal problems. The vault today is partially occupied by an invading chamber on its southwestern side used as a storage area and a modern burial from the last century placed asymmetrically inside the very symmetrical iwan space. The iwan hosts a central mihrab, flanked by two windows topped with double lintels, which are blocked today. The pointed arched mihrab’s conch is filled with six rows of stalactites, its spandrels are filled with shallow bas-reliefs with vegetal patterns, and an inscription set in a rectangular frame above the mihrab borders the whole. A second inscription runs around the three sides of the iwan above the mihrab and stops on both sides of the iwan’s façade. The whole façade is connected with a simple stone double molded frieze to accentuate the higher level of the iwan compared to the bases of the mausoleums beside it, thus creating the pishtaq effect. As this upper section of the whole façade, including most of the upper part of the vault is the reconstruction of the Comité, we will not be sure whether the façade had originally crenellations or not. David Robert’s depiction (1846-49) has no crenellations as well, but they might have already been lost by then. Remains of masonry betray the fact that walls were running southwards from this facade.

The southeastern façade is composed of six slim niches vertically placed along the whole height of the façade. Each of the six niches is created by four rows of flat stalactites, pierced by a lower rectangular windows (all now blocked) surmounted by a pointed arched small window. The location of the inscription band, running under the stalactites is prepared, but is void of any inscription. Whether this is caused by the modern restoration or the building was unfinished is still questionable. A rectangular block with a slant top protruded at the center of this façade mark the location of the mihrab inside the iwan. The whole façade is crowned by the same molding as on the northwestern façade. On the southern side of this façade remains of a wall betrays the extension of this façade southwards, which is confirmed by David Robert’s depiction of this façade. Definitely this façade was part of the southern façade of the complex as well.

The southwestern façade corresponds to the southwestern wall of the southern minaret. It is a completely blocked façade with no openings and decoration and with evidence of walls attached to it (see Robert’s depiction). So, left now as an external wall, it was originally the walls of the internal spaces of the complex.

Contrary to the previous façade, the northeastern façade, which corresponds to the northeastern wall of the northern mausoleum, is an external wall. With a central niche identical to the six niches on the southeastern façade and an inscription band, which even betrays the fact that the absent inscription was intended to start from this façade. Access to the mausoleum is modern.

The two rectangular bases of the mausoleums are surmounted by two domes, similar in appearance, but different in size, structure, form, and decoration.

The two domes of the mausoleums are similar in the following aspects: They both have externally the same appearance, which is created by the fact that both have a polygonal two course base set on the roof of the cuboid section of the mausoleum, both have elongated necks with a series of pierced windows on the lower end and a Naskhi inscription band executed in bas-relief running along the drum on the upper part, and both domes have a double dome ribbed composition from outside.

The interesting novelty introduced to the Cairene silhouette of monumental structures is their elongated necks, as well as the absence of the external negative stepped reflections of their internal transitional zones, so commonly seen on Cairene domes since the Fatimid period, which was in all its variations composed of: the stepped external corners echoing externally the internal transitional zone, the one on two on three, or more hexagonal bouquet of windows on the straight sides of the neck, and the piercing of the solid walls between the four corners of the transitional zones internally. In fact this different treatment of the necks is structurally problematic, because Cairene builders had used the above mentioned stepped corner external solution not only as a decorative scheme, but, and foremost, as an external buttressing technique to absorb the lateral forces exerted by the weight of the dome placed above this zone. Therefore, even if we assume that this kind of domes were not uncommon in early Mamluk times, definitely we cannot deny the fact that those who built Sarghitmish mosque or Yunis Duwidar’s mausoleum had no experience in building domes as high as those without the use of the external buttressing system commonly used in their long tested dome building experience. Another important point is the facts that the dome of Yunis is relatively much smaller in size, while, the dome of Sarghitmish was originally a wooden construction. So, when compared to the two surviving pre-Sultaniyya examples, their formal appearance is undeniably similar, but there is a major difference in the construction method between these two and the two domes of al-Sultaniyya.

Internally the mausoleums are nearly identical until the level of the top of the cuboid section, as they were identical in their external appearance. Both qibla walls have a central mihrab flanked by two rectangular windows set inside keel- arched niches, surmounted by two semi-circular arched windows.

Contrary to their identical lower levels, the upper domed section of the two bear major differences. Among the obvious differences between the two domes are the following:

-        The square-kufic decoration on the drum (neck) of the northern mausoleum, compared to the void of any decoration neck of the southern one.

-        The Transitional zone of the northern dome transfers the square section of the mausoleum into a complete circle by the help of four tiers of stalactite and a continuous chain of small 48 niches running along the whole circumference of the circle created at the top of the transitional zone. The tiers of stalactites have the form of stalactite, but do not function structurally as stalactites. A line connects them vertically, and they are not placed alternatively on the vertical axis, but are dripping downwards along the same alliance. These stalactites with the frieze above them structurally follow the load transferring logic of a continuous pendentive rather than the built down logic of transfer of loads created by the stalactite rows, which is the case in the southern dome. In this latter dome, the transitional zone transfers the square into a 12 sided polygon by the help of five tiers of stalactites, which do act structurally as stalactites, meaning that each two stalactite niches, set on one row, are placed in such a position as to carry the load from up downwards onto the upper tip of a single stalactite unit, set on the row below and so on. Therefore, in this case the stalactite units are really acting as load-bearing elements, transferring the load from the top 12-sided polygon to the bottom square, and in doing so, the whole ensemble of the zone of stalactite units is distributing the load of the dome above systematically downwards to the square walls of the cuboid section of the mausoleum.

-        The bottom part of the drum of the northern mausoleum is pierced by 16 keel-arched windows, compared to the 12 keel-arched windows pierced on the neck of the southern one.

-        The structure of the internal shell of the dome itself is structurally completely different between the two. The northern one is built up on the circular base by setting the consecutive stone masonry rows in circles, which are diminishing in their diameters as one proceeds upwards, creating a shallow segment of a sphere, which has a key stone at its apex highlighted by the placement of a decorative roundel. The construction method and the formal solution of the lower shell of the double domes of the southern mausoleum are very different. In this lower shell, the master builder has adopted the progressive building up of twelve-sided bases with diminishing sizes as he built upwards to create his dome. Therefore, the internal shell of the dome of the southern mausoleum is a 12-sided pyramid, the angle of which is made at an appropriate degree so that to give a similar effect of the lower shell of the spherical northern mausoleum, where in fact, structurally, it is a clear 12-sided pyramid.

These differences might be the cause of the arguments raised among art historians concerning the date of foundation of this structure. By our thorough examination of this monument, and by our summarized observations mentioned above related to the sameness of the bases of the mausoleums and the formal and structural differences between the exteriors and especially the interiors of the mausoleums, we suggest that what is today called as the mausoleum of al-Sultaniyya is the result of at least three major construction/reconstruction layers executed in different periods:

-        The lower sections of the two mausoleums, the upper domed structure of the northern mausoleum, and the minaret, which will be described in the coming section belong to an earliest period,

-        The upper domed structure of the southern mausoleum belong to a later period, while,

-        The reconstructions of the Comité belong to the most modern layer.

Definitely, this layering of construction phases needs more fine-tuning architecture-wise because we are aware of the fact that when buildings are subjected to major reconstruction activities, even older layers are subjected to changes during the process. But for the time being, this is our suggestion, in need for more work in the future as far as proper architectural documentation is concerned accompanied by hunt for more relevant historical information.

 

Description of minaret

The minaret standing today in a complete isolation, is totally built in stone and formally it is composed of four sections. The walls are three-partite: facing stone inside and outside filled with rubble stone. This has given the master builder the possibility to play with his laying of course of stone to create decorative patterns, while facing the rough core of his structure with small size hewn stone blocks.

-        The lowest section is divided into two distinct parts, which are both square in section, but have very different structural functions. The bottom part is completely solid and acts as the what we call in modern structures as a surface foundation, while the second part (also square in section, but smaller in size than the lower one) is a hollowed section and acts as the beginning of the shaft that hosts the internal spiral staircase, which leads from that point on until the highest accessible point on the minaret. On the southeastern facade of this part a pointed arched doorway is pierced to allow access to the internal vertical stairs of the minaret. This in itself is an evidence that the minaret was never a free-standing one, but one that was originally attached to a larger complex, accessed from its roof, the level of which corresponds with the separation between the two square sections of the minaret. A transitional zone, composed of four inverted pyramidal pendentives set on each of the four corners of the square shaft, make the transition from square to octagon, and from this point on starts the second octagonal shaft of the minaret. The space between the four inverted pyramids is filled with geometrical patterns executed by the use of masonry laid as such as to create geometrical forms on the facade. Therefore, each of the four faces forms a rectangle topped by a keel-arch, flanked by right-angled triangles. These geometrical forms are filed with normal horizontally laid masonry carved in shallow bas-reliefs in floral and vegetal motifs (leaves and half palm trees).

-        The octagonal zone starts with a very badly preserved inscription band and ends with a similar second one set at the end of the shaft. Both inscriptions are in naskhi script, executed in a shallow bas-reliefs mode, and run along the eight sides of the octagon. Unfortunately, none refer to any foundation date or founder’s name. The surface of this octagonal section is treated in an interesting way: using two colors of the structurally utilized masonry, alternatively white and red, to create a chevron effect without using any extra carving. Moreover, the size of the stone blocks are small and unified, as if stone is adapted in size, attitude of application and decorative effect to serve the building and decorative logic of brick. Besides the use of decorative stone facing blocks (an imitation of decorative brick), on four sides of the octagonal shaft, four windows are pierced with A-framed arches placed on alternate faces. Under these windows four small false balconies are set supported by three tiers of stalactites, with a molding on the top of each balcony running uninterruptedly along the eight sides of the shaft. The other four sides of the octagon host windows with exactly the same size and shape, but blocked by a stone slab for each, decorated in shallow bas-reliefs of vegetal patterns composed of half palm trees and tri-lobbed leaves. The decorations on the blind windows are of the same character as the panels set inside the geometrical frames of the transitional zone. This section is surmounted by an octagonal balcony set at a larger size than the shaft below it by the help of four tiers of stalactites. The balustrade (added by the Comité) is composed of sixteen posts with bosses connected by stone panels pierced in geometrical and vegetal decorations.

-        The third section of the minaret is also octagonal in plan with a single A-framed arched doorway, placed on its southeastern side, to access the first balcony from the internal spiral staircase. The seven other sides are solid masonry, but decorated with blind A-framed arches, formed by the use of red stone blocks. The spandrels of the arches and the stone surface around the blind windows are covered with shallow bas-reliefs carvings bearing vegetal patterns. A balcony similar in composition and form as the lower one but smaller in size also crowns this shaft.

-        The fourth section of this minaret is hexagonal and is composed of six stone masonry piers connected together with semi-circular arches (now partially blocked, see David Robert’s depiction to see the open gallery). Most of these openings are blocked, except for the northwestern one, which serves as the only access to the second balcony. This once open pavilion is crowned by a hexagonal balcony smaller than the two previous balconies, but similar in its supporting system and decoration. The minaret is topped by an onion-shaped bulb, which is crowned by a crescent-formed finial.  

 

Conservation History

In 1887, members of the Comité visited two domes in al-Suyuti area, which they then called as “Sayadi Guelal el dine el Syouti”, but we know that they meant al-Sultaniyya domes because of the detailed description they have left behind. According to the Comité’s report, the southern dome suffered excessively from the earthquake (we don’t know which one), when its northern wall entirely collapsed. During this preliminary inspection, they have even tried to attribute the double domes to the Circassian Mamluk period, as they have noticed that they are of a later date than the other monuments of what they called as  “tombeaux des khalifes” (meaning tomb of the Caliphs). Furthermore, they observed that the construction method is similar to Barquq, Qaytbay, etc., which they mentioned as being built in carved stone and earth-lime mix mortar.

 

Al-Sultaniyya domes and al-Sultaniyya minaret were listed as monuments in 1890 under the name “Tombeau Jalal al-Din” for the mausoleum and “northern minaret” for the minaret, as related to its locatoion when compared to the location of the other three minarets left in Isolation in al-Suyuti area (“southern minaret” being the minaret of the mosque of Qusun – completely destroyed now and “middle minaret”, which is identified as the minaret of Qusun’s khanqah).

 

In a meeting dating 24.1.1893, the Comité decided:

-        To complete al-khawza (meaning the bulb) and balcony balustrades on the different levels of the northern minaret,

-        To reconstruct the damaged stone masonry sections of the mausoleum,

-        To repair the stone masonry cornice of the mausoleum, and, finally,

-        To re-erect the five window grills and one door of al-Sultaniyya mausoleum.

In the same year, the Comité has decided the turabis were to be assigned to take care of the monuments in al-Qarafa al-Kubra. Among others, the job of caretaking for the minaret and the mausoleum of al-Sultaniyya were handed over to a turabi called Mohamed Aly. (It is interesting to mention that the Comité had considered al-Sultaniyya mausoleum to be composed of two separate structures: The mausoleum with a dome and the mausoleum without a dome, which means that the vault between the two was an open to the sky space, thus needed no maintenance).

 

In 1896, the amount of LE 35 was allotted for the conservation and reconstruction works on the northern minaret and LE 200 for the restoration works on the double domes & the iwan of al-Sultaniyya mausoleum.

In the same year, Herz Bey asked Artin Pasha (two members of the Comité then) if the students of the Polytechnic could survey the perimeters of the monuments in al-Suyuti area among which were al-Sultaniyya mausoleum and minaret and to warn those assigned responsible for these monuments to make sure that there no new constructions were allowed around them.

 

In 1902, Herz Bey tried to reorganize those responsible for the care of the monuments in the Qarafa al-Kubra. He proposed a different distribution, according to which 32 monuments were to be divided among the ten gravedigger contractors. He advised assigning the monuments to the care of these contractors, and like the contractors of most of the monuments existing in the department; they were to be required to sign a statement to prevent encroachments. Moreover, in order to exercise control over them, Mr. Herz bey advised adding the expense of two watchmen on behalf of the General Administration of Wakfs who would also be required to sign the statement in question and to patrol the sites daily to make sure that the boundaries of the monuments were properly respected.

 

In 1920-4, the sum of 17.000 LE (allocated by the government) was allotted for the works to be done on al-Sultaniyya.

 

In the 1933-5, Pauty confirmed that some preliminary work of repair and strengthening on the monuments in al-Suyuti area had taken place, but had not been finished. He insisted that the conservation practice should continue in this area. Pauty mentioned in particularly that works on al-Sultaniyya where one of the domes should have been restored to match the other and the vault of the iwan between the two domes should have been removed and reconstructed, had not yet started. In the same meeting, Sir Robert Greg proposed that, conservation works on the three minarets should also be completed. The proposal concerning the minarets was unanimously approved, on condition that the supporting structure under the minarets was strong enough to support the work.

 

In 1936-40, the sum of LE 700 LE was spent for the completion of masonry works on al-Sultaniyya mausoleum.

In the same report, and after the completion of the conservation works on the monuments of al-Suyuti area, the Comité has assembled the classified monuments in the cemeteries in groups among others the cemeteries to the south of the Citadel were grouped in six zones, one of them was the zone of al-Suyuti, which included includes: the tomb of al-Sultaniyya, the northern minaret, the tomb of al-Suyuti, the khanqah of Qusun, the middle minaret, the tomb of Ali Badr al-Din al-Qarafi, the southern minaret, the tomb of Jaliq, the tomb of al-Sawabi, the tomb of Sudun Amir Maglis (Abu Sibha), the iwan of Fayruz. By then the ensemble of the monuments in this area were conserved enough to be presented as a group of monuments with proximity to each other.

 

From the Archives of al-Mahfuzat in al-‘Abasiyya

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

5

28.9.1914

Mr. Ali Muhammad Abu Sibha

The engineer of the Comitte of Protection Arab Antiquities in the General Waqf Administration

Letter: Permission to build a wooden kushk (kiosk) to host a water tap necessary to build a new madfan (cenotaph)

Details: The turabi of Jalal al-Suyuti area, Mr. Ali Muhammad Abu Sibha asks the permission to build a kushk (kiosk) 11 meters away from qubbat Khwand Umm al-Sultan in al-qarafa al-Kubra, to host a water tap necessary to build a new madfan (cenotaph), which s going to be 20 meters away from the same monument. He also mentions that the Kushk will be removed once he finishes the construction of the madfan to be placed in a new location inside al-Qarafa.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

6

4.10.1914

Mr. Yusuf Ahmad, Inspector of Arab Antiquities

The engineer of the Comitte of Protection Arab Antiquities in the General Waqf Administration

Letter: Answer to the previous request

Details: The inspector Mr. Yusuf Ahmad mentions that upon his visit, he has verified the distances mentioned in the previous request and found them correct. He also adds that as the kiosk is temporary and placed in a proper distance from the monuments, there is not harm expected from it. So he agrees that the kiosk be built, but on the condition of getting a written commitment from the turabi to transfer the kiosk within two months from the date of the permission issued to turabi, which will allow him to finish the madfan and transfer the kiosk.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

 

14.3.1918

Inspector Ahmad Yusuf

Piece of paper: Reporting on routing inspection

Details: Just a piece of paper mentioning that the northern minaret No. 288 in qarafat al-Suyuti is on its same condition.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

 

16.3.1931

Inspector Ahmad Yusuf

Deputy of Arab Antiquities

Letter: Reporting on routing inspection

Details: Inspector Ahmad Yusuf reports that some of the stone blocks on the three sections of the northern minaret are damaged, thus need to be exchanged.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

 

16.7. 1931

Deputy of Arab Antiquities

Ministry of Awqaf, qalam lajnat al-athar al-arabiyya

Letter including request for spent funds as a reaction to the previous reporting concerning the condition of the northern minaret

Details:

Type of expenses

LE

Millims

176 Millims were left from the previous budget to the contractor (muqawil sanawi billajna) Kamil Afandi Ibrahim, 800 Millims are needed, therefore, funds needed are:

 

624

TOTAL

 

624

Deputy of Arab Antiquities

 

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

3

8.5.1950

Unsigned

Director of the Arab Antiquities

Letter: Request to restore the southern wall of the northern minaret

Details: A letter by a certain person asking for the restortion of the southern wall of the northern minaret.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

4

7.8.1950

Eng. Ibrahim ‘Abbud

Director of the Arab Antiquities

Letter: Answer to the previous letter concerning the request to restore the southern wall of the northern minaret

Details: Upon inspection of the southern wall of the northern minaret, Eng. Ibrahim ‘Abbud settles that the wall in question is modern and in a good condition, therefore, in no need for restoration.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

 

10.11.1960

Antiquities – Administration of inspectors and excavations

Inspector of tanzim wasat, wizarat al-ashghal (Ministry of Public Works)

Letter: Reminder for actions taken against the illegal construction of a house by the turabi Mr. ‘Abd al-Rahman Abu Sibha inside the haram of the northern minaret

Details: The director of the Administration of inspectors and excavations, Mr. Jamal Mehriz is reminding the inspector of tanzim wasat, wizarat al-ashghal (Ministry of Public Works) about the legal actions that were supposed to be taken against the turabi Mr. ‘Abd al-Rahman Abu Sibha, who had built his house only six meters away form the northern minaret. He reminds those responsible in the tanzim about his previous letter sent to them in 11.8.1958. Then the letter dating 26.9.1958 from the tanzim, which confirmed the release of a violation document against the turabi. In the same letter it was mentioned that this violation document was sent to the police by the date of 15.9.1958, where it was mentioned that upon the release of the sentence against the turabi, the necessary actions would take place. Mr. Jamal Mehriz mentioned that he had got no response from the tanzim, so he addressed them a letter dating 21.8.1960, but again in vain. So, he is again addressing the tanzim with this present letter to inquire about the situation explained in his letter.

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

1

12.11.1960

Antiquities – Administration of inspectors and excavations

Wakil niybat al-Khalifa

Letter: Trespassing haram of al-Sultaniyya mausoleum and minaret in Qarafat Sidi Jalal and keeping a golden coin they found during their illegal construction.

Details: The letter asks opening an inquiry with Mr. Abd al-Rahman Ali Abu Sibha and Mr. Hasan Ali Abu Sibha for building inside haram of the minaret and the mausoleum of al-Sultaniyya and while doing so discovering a golden coin, as witnessed by Mr. Ibrahim Muafi and Mr. Khalil Ahmad Abu ‘Uf

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

 

20.1.1969

Inspector Mahmud al-Hadidi, Inspectorate of wasat al-Qahira,

8 al-Khudari, hayy Tulun, al-Sayyeda

Director of the Engineering Section of al-Jabbanat –Cairo Municipality

Letter: Requesting the Jabbanat to issue construction permits to individuals without taking the permission from the Antiquities.

Details: Inspector Mr. Mahmud al-Hadidi from the Inspectorate of wasat al-Qahira is inquiring about the permissions issued by the Engineering Section of al-Jabbanat to individuals to build in Qarafat Sidi Jalal near al-Turba al-Sultaniyya without taking the approval of the Antiquities, which was, according to him, was the customary procedure followed until then. He reminds the Jabbanat that this area is full of monuments and that there was an agreement between the Antiquities and the Jabbanat on the dimensions of the haram to be left around each of these monuments to safeguard their protection. Thus, the inspector asks the jabbanat to issue any further construction permits without having the consent of the Antiquities to avoid unnecessary encroachments on the monuments and violation of the law No 15 issued in 1951

 

No

Date

Written by

Addressed to

Subject

2

3.12.1969

Antiquities – Inspectorate of wasat al-Qahira

Director of the Engineering Section of al-Jabbanat – ‘Abdin, Cairo

Letter: The illegal re-construction of a hawsh beyond its original borders

Details: Mrs. Jamalat Mahmud Fahmi had the permission to build a new hawsh and a fence around it, but upon inspection it was discovered that the above mentioned lady had demolished the fence of her old hawsh and rebuilt a new fence the borders of which did not correspond to the borders agreed upon in the permission. Therefore, the letter requests that this hawsh be demolished and the matter presented to al-niyaba as it is larger than the area permitted and also it trespasses the borders of the nearby haram of turbat al-Sultaniyya.

 

Bibliography

- Abu‘l-'Amayim, Muhammad, “Al-mi’dhana al-qibliyya wa ma hawluha min al-athar kharij bab al-qarafa bi’l-Qahira”, Annales Islamologiques XXXIV (2000), pp. 45-89.

- Behrens-Abouseif, D. Cairo of the Mamluks: a History of the Architecture and its Culture (Cairo, 2007), pp. 214-17.

- Behrens-Abouseif, D. Minarets of Cairo, (Cairo, 2010), pp. 184-188.

- Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l’Art Arabe, Fascicules I to XXXX (French) + Kurrasa 41 (Arabic), Exercices 1882-3 to 1946-53 (French) + 1954-6 (Arabic). (Cairo, 1892-1963)[Online: http://www.islamic-art.org/], 1894, p. 77, 83; 1895, p. 57; 1896, p. 11; Herz 1914 (1882-1910), 119; 1915-9, p. 800; 1933-35, P. 253; 1936-40, p. 56, 105,107.

- Creswell, K. A. C., “A brief chronology of the Muhammadan monuments of Egypt to A.D. 1517”, BIFAO Vol. XVI (1919), pp. 128-129, pl. XVI-XVII.

- Kessler, Ch., The Carved Masonry Domes of Mediaeval Cairo, 1976, p. 9, 15.

- Makar, F., al-Sultaniyya, an MA Thesis AUC, (Cairo, 1972).

- Meinecke, M. Die mamlukische Architektur in Ägypten und Syrien (648/1250 bis 923/1517)  (Glückstadt, 1992), p.213.

- Rizq, A. M. Atlas al-‘imarah al-Islamiyya wa-al-Qibttiyya bil-Qahira (Cairo, 2003), pp. 1451-1467.

- SCA, Mahfuzat files, al-manara al-bahariyya file (Mon. No. 288).