THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
5.THE MAMLUK PERIOD, 648 - 923H. (1250- 1517 A.D.) .
21- THE MOSQUE OF AL- MARIDANI 739- 40H.(1338/9 - 40) . THIS MOSQUE is on the west side of at- Tabbana Street. It was built by Altunbugha al- Maridani, one of the Amirs of an- Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala'un who was also his son- in- law. He started its construction in 739H. (1338/9) and finished it in 740H. (1340) , under the supervision of the Mu'allim ibn as- Suyufi, chief architect to an- Nasir Muhammad. Its plan resembles that of the Mosque of an- Nasir in the Citadel, for it consists of an open sahn, surrounded by four riwaqs, the qibla having four rows of arches, whereas each of the other three has two only. In front of the mihrab is a dome, supported on huge granite columns, with gilded capitals. At the corners of the square below the dome are wooden stalactites, decorated and gilded, with windows in between, made of pierced stucco, decorated with coloured glass. Above the dome arches runs a band of inscription, consisting of verses from the Qur'an. The walls of the qibla riwaq are lined with a dado of coloured marble with bands of fine tracery, inlaid with mother- of- pearl, and also a number of Kufic rectangles. The mihrab is of coloured marble, inlaid with mother- of- pearl of the finest craftsmanship, which makes it one of the most beautiful mihrabs. To the right of it is a wooden minbar, which likewise is one of the finest in Egypt, both as regards carving and inlay work. The wooden ceiling is painted with geometrical designs beautifully coloured and gilded. Part of the ceiling of qibla riwaq has been renewed. All round the ceiling runs a frieze of Qur'anic inscriptions in white on a blue background, with gilded scrolls. The qibla riwaq is separated from the rest of the mosque by a wooden screen of mashrabiya work, beautifully carved and bordered at the top with a band of inscription, carved in the wood on both sides. The faades of the sahn are decorated, above the arches, with stucco ornament, in the form of circles and lozenges, and in the spandrels of the arches are keel- arched recesses, resting on engaged columns. These faades are crowned with stepped cresting, the face of which is decorated with stucco ornament. On top of the cresting, in the middle of each side and at each corner, is a cap surmounted with a cone of green faience. The external faades of the mosque, as was usual at this time, are divided into shallow panels with stalactite hoods. There are two windows in each of these panels; the lower ones have lintels inlaid with marble, in the form of joggled voussoirs. The upper windows are filled with pierced stucco grilles, of geometrical design. All along the faades, and just below the top of the panels, runs a band of Qur'anic inscription, carved in the stone. The faades are crowned with stepped cresting. The mosque has three entrances, the principal ones being the north- eastern and the north- western. The former is set within a deep arched recess, the back of which is decorated with marble inlay, with beautiful stalactites at the top. To the left of it is a minaret with three octagonal storeys. The north- western entrance has a fine stalactite hood. Both entrances bear the name of the founder and the date of foundation. The Department for the Preservation of Arab Monuments have carried out extensive restorations here. They have renewed defective masonry, replaced falling columns, repaired the marble dado, restored the minbar, windows and doors, and built a dome over the mihrab, after repairing and painting its stalactites. They also built the upper storey of the minaret and repaired all the ceilings. These restorations were begun in 1313H. (1895) and completed in 1321H. (1903) . Plates 61- 68.