THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
5.THE MAMLUK PERIOD, 648 - 923H. (1250- 1517 A.D.) .
28- THE MOSQUE AND MADRASA OF SULTAN BARQUQ (AL- MU'IZZ LI- DIN ILLAH ST.) 786- 788H.(1384- 86) . THIS MOSQUE is on the east side of al- Mu'izz li- Din Illah Street between the Kamiliya Madrasa and the Mosque of an- Nasir Muhammad. It was built in 788H. (1386) by Sultan az- Zahir Abu Sa'id Barquq, first Circassian Mamluk to rule Egypt. Previously, he had been a Mamluk of the Amir Yalbugha, who set him free. After he had been promoted to several high government posts, his luck brought him to the throne of Egypt in 784H. (1382). The mosque is built according to the cruciform madrasa plan. It has an open court, surrounded by four iwans. Ibn at- Tuluni, the architect who designed it, had a wonderful scheme for its planning and decoration. The qibla iwan was divided into three aisles, the middle one of which had a flat ceiling, decorated with beautiful gilt ornament. It was separated from the side aisles by means of two rows of large ancient Egyptian columns of granite. The walls of this iwan have a dado of coloured marble, in the middle of which is a fine mihrab, inlaid with mother- of- pearl. The floor is paved with marble, in beautiful designs. The original minbar, having disappeared, was replaced by the present one, built by order of Sultan Jaqmaq in the middle of the ninth century H. (middle of 15 th century A.D.). The other three iwans are corvered with tunnel vaults. The largest of these is the west iwan, the vault of which is built in red and white stone, in a beautiful decorative scheme. These iwans are each flanked with two similar doorways. One of the two eastern doorways opens into the corridor from the main entrance vestibule; the other opens into the mausoleum. All round the top of the sahn, runs a band of inscription, consisting of verses from the Qur'an, and ending with the year in which the mosque was completed, 788H. These faades are crowned with foliated cresting. In the centre of the sahn stands a dome on marble columns, with a fountain beneath. A band of inscription running round the swelling of the dome, records its restoration in 1310H. (1892). The court is paved with white marble. The architect of the mosque showed talent in decorating the mausoleum, just as he has done in the qibla iwan. He lined the walls with a marble dado, above which runs a gilt band of inscription, containing the name of Barquq and his titles, and the date of completion, 788H. Moreover, he showed great care in decorating the dome of the mausoleum, the stalactite pendentives of which were richly painted. The drum has pierced stucco windows, decorated with coloured glass, and surrounded with gilt ornament. The two leaves of the main door of the mosque are bronze plated, with geometrical ornament, in a style similar to those of the mosques of Sultan Hasan and Qala'un, etc. The doors of the interior were decorated in a way that was adopted in later mosques. Instead of being made in two halves, the door is treated as one, an open work bronze medallion being placed in the centre, and quarter medallions in the four corners. At the top and bottom, run two large bands with inscriptions recording the name of the founder and the date of foundation. The faade, like many others, is divided into shallow recesses with stalactites at the top. There are two tiers of windows. The upper windows are made of wooden lattice, instead of pierced stucco. This type of window, mentioned in the description of the Mosque of Ulmas, is rarely seen in Mamluk mosques. The fade is crowned with foliated cresting, below which runs a band of inscription, carved in the stone, recording the name of Sultan Barquq and the date on which the work was completed, 788. At the southern end of the faade is the great main entrance, with its beautiful stalactites and marble inlay. Next to the minaret is the dome, the only external decoration of which is limited to the three tiers of stalactites running round at the springing. Plates 94- 99.