Sabil-Kuttab of Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda, Cairo


Cairo – A Street Scene
Publishers: Lehnert & Landrock, Cairo

Google Street View.

Sabil (Water Dispensary) and Kuttab (Qur’anic School) of ‘Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda
This monument has a special artistic importance, for it is a free-standing complex that consists of a sabil (water dispensary) and a kuttab (Qur’an school) both of which display many of the glories of Islamic art specific to the Ottoman period. The building represents the style of sabil that has three windows and which is a blend of the Mamluk and Ottoman styles. The sabil has three facades (south, north and west) that are identical and equal in length. Each façade contains a semi-circular arch, which is supported by two spiral marble pillars. In the middle of the arch is a large opening from which cups of water may be obtained for passers-by (windows for the procurement of water or tasbil).
Museum With No Frontiers: Discover Islamic Art

The Sabil-Kuttab of ‘Abd al Rahman Katkhuda of 1744 was named for its patron, a Mamluk amir and leader of the Egyptian Janissaries. The two-story square structure consists of the fountain within the block of the first level, which is surmounted by space for the school in the form of a two-tiered arcaded pavilion.
ArchNet

Sabil-Kuttab of Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda is a historic monument in the historic district of Cairo, Egypt. It comprises a public fountain or sabil, an elementary Quran school or kuttab, and an adjacent residential wing. A prime example of Egyptian architecture of its time, it was commissioned in 1744 by Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda, a local official who was a prominent patron of architecture. . . . Built in 1744 CE, it is named for its patron, a Mamluk amir (prince) and leader of the Egyptian Janissaries, who died in 1776. He did much work in Cairo including developments to Al-Azhar University and mosque. He also rebuilt the dome of the Qala’un Mosque after an earthquake in Egypt. Sabils and kuttabs were almost everywhere in old Islamic Cairo during Mamluk and Ottoman times. Sabils are facilities providing free, fresh water for thirsty people who are passing by. Kuttabs are primitive kinds of elementary schools that teach children to read and write. The Sabil-Kuttab was built using the Mamluk Egyptian style which continued to overwhelm all the styles of such buildings even after the Ottoman conquest in 1517. The architecture of this time was so delicate that even simple facilities like sabils were designed to be pieces of art.
Wikipedia.

Aswan from Elphantine, Egypt


ASSOUAN, General View
c.1910
Pubished: Lichtenstern & Harari, Cairo (1902-1912)

Google Street View.

Elephantine is an island on the Nile, forming part of the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. . . . Known to the ancient Egyptians as ꜣbw (Elephant), the island of Elephantine stood at the border between Egypt and Nubia. It was an excellent defensive site for a city and its location made it a natural cargo transfer point for river trade. This border is near the Tropic of Cancer, the most northerly latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead at noon and from which it appears to reverse direction or “turn back” at the solstices. . . . According to ancient Egyptian religion, Elephantine was the dwelling place of Khnum, the ram-headed god of the cataracts, who guarded and controlled the waters of the Nile from caves beneath the island. He was worshipped here as part of a late triad of Egyptian deities. . . . Most of the present day southern tip of the island is taken up by the ruins of the Temple of Khnum. These, the oldest ruins still standing on the island, are composed of a granite step pyramid from the Third Dynasty and a small temple built for the local Sixth Dynasty nomarch, Heqaib. In the Middle Kingdom, many officials, such as the local governors Sarenput I or Heqaib III, dedicated statues and shrines into the temple.
Wikipedia.

The island of Elephantine rises out of the waters in the middle of the river. It has always been an object of wonder for travelers, and a certain Henry Light, sailing up the Nile from Cairo in 1814, described it as ”a scene composed of water, rocks, and buildings, which latter had the additional effect of being formed of cupolas, minarets, mosques, and ruins, interspersed amongst plantations of lofty palm-trees, and surrounded by mountains of deep red or sandy hue, on the tops and sides of which were other ruins of convents, churches and mosques.” Much of this scene remains. Elephantine still emerges from the water like a hallucination, upon it the now sparse ruins of the ancient city of Abu that once housed the frontier fortress of Egypt.
New York Time Magazine: Afloat on the Ancient Nile (2 October 1988)

Street & city gate, Cairo


CAIRO.– Near City Gate
On back:
LE CAIRE.– Un coin de la Ville Arabe.
c.1910
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co. (1895-1919)

Google Street View.

Bab Zuweila is one of three remaining gates in the walls of the Old City of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It was also known as Bawabbat al-Mitwali during the Ottoman period, and is sometimes spelled Bab Zuwayla. It is considered one of the major landmarks of the city and is the last remaining southern gate from the walls of Fatimid Cairo in the 11th and 12th century. Its name comes from Bab, meaning “gate”, and Zuwayla, the name of an ethnic group recruited into the Fatimid army from the town of Zuwayla in the Fezzan.

The city of Cairo was founded in 969 as the royal city of the Fatimid dynasty. In 1092, the vizier Badr al-Jamali had a second wall built around Cairo. Bab Zuweila was the southern gate in this wall. It has twin towers (minarets) which can be accessed via a steep climb. In earlier times they were used to scout for enemy troops in the surrounding countryside, and in modern times, they are hailed for providing one of the best views of Old Cairo. The structure also has a famous platform. Executions would sometimes take place there, and it was also from this location that the Sultan would stand to watch the beginning of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Sometimes the severed heads of criminals would be displayed along the tops of the walls. This was done as recently as 1811, when the severed heads of Mamluks from the Citadel massacre were mounted on spikes here. The corresponding gate on the northern side of the city was the Bab al-Futuh, which still stands on the northern side of the Muizz street.
Wikipedia.

Bab Zuwayla functioned as the southern entrance to the original Fatimid settlement from A.D. 969 (when ‘al-Qahirah’ or ‘Cairo’ was founded), and was reconstructed in stone in the late eleventh century A.D. by Badr al-Gamali, the de facto ruler of Egypt. During restoration work by ARCE it was discovered that the two massive doors of the Bab Zuwayla, each weighing almost 4 tons, moved on ball bearings, which were initially placed on display in the monument following the completion of the project. Colloquially, the gate is also known as Bab al­-Mitwalli after a popular Sufi saint who is associated with the location.
American Research Centre in Egypt

An Armenian himself, al-Jamali is reported to have employed Armenians from northern Mesopotamia as well as Syrians in a vast building campaign which he embarked on shortly after he assumed power. This work marks the beginning of a newly cultivated taste for stone in Cairo. The Byzantine and north Syrian stone details and techniques demonstrate the most direct encounter between neighboring regional building traditions, manifested in the importation of architects and possibly of manpower.
ArchNet

Sultan Hassan, Al-Rifa’i & Al-Mahmoudia Mosques, Cairo, Egypt


Cairo – The Mosque Sultan Hassan, El Rifaieh and El Mahmoudieh
“1930” is written on the back, this seems likely.
Publishers: Lehnert & Landrock, Cairo

(left) Mosque of Sultan Hassan

(centre) Al-Rifa’i Mosque

(right)Al-Mahmoudia Mosque

Al-Mahmoudia Mosque or the Mosque of Mahmud Pasha is a historic mosque in the city of Cairo, Egypt. . . . The mosque dates back to the Ottoman era in 1567 during the administration of Mahmud Pasha who is buried in the mosque. The name of the mosque is derived from him.The mosque is attached with the mausoleum of Mahmud Pasha which is accessible through the door on the mihrab wall. Mahmud Pasha was shot dead near the mosque after being accused of oppressing the Egyptian people.

The design of the mosque is unique in its architectural style which follows the Mamluk tradition for the main building and partly based on the Ottoman architecture for the minaret in particular. The minaret is decorated with a ring with muqarnas and a cone shaped obelisk on top. It is noted to be smaller than the other mosques in the same area, and it is partly due to the building was built on top of the pile of stones, and it is required to climb up stairs to the mosque. The mosque has four sides, and two of them have entrance gate on it. The gates are ornamented with two lines of windows filled with plasters and maroon glass works, with muqarnas on top of them facing toward the balconies.
Wikipedia.

The mosque built by Mahmud Pasha in 1567 is an early Cairene Ottoman official religious architecture which follows the Mamluk tradition. The positioning of the domed burial chamber behind the prayer hall to face the Citadel and the construction of the minaret on a semicircular buttress protruding from a corner next to the mausoleum show that it used the nearby Madrasa of Sultan Hasan as its model. The minaret, however, is Ottoman.
ArchNet

Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

These three postcards are photographs taken of existing photographs and then printed as postcards. They have no publisher details. Given the bare surroundings, I assume the original photos were taken when Heliopolis was being developed (1910s).

Heliopolis was a suburb outside Cairo, Egypt, which has since merged with Cairo as a district of the city and is one of the more affluent areas of Cairo. It was established in 1905 by the Heliopolis Oasis Company headed by the Belgian industrialist Édouard Empain and by Boghos Nubar, son of the Egyptian Prime Minister Nubar Pasha.
. . .
In 1905, Empain established the Cairo Electric Railways and Heliopolis Oases Company, which bought a large stretch of desert some distance to the northeast of Cairo at a low price from the British occupation government. His efforts culminated in 1907 with the building of the new town of Heliopolis, in the Sahara desert ten kilometers from the center of Cairo. The new city represented the first large-scale attempt to promote its own architecture, known now as the Heliopolis style. It was designed as a “city of luxury and leisure”, with broad avenues and equipped with all conveniences and infrastructure: water, drains, electricity, hotel facilities, such as the Heliopolis Palace Hotel and Heliopolis House, and recreational amenities including a golf course, racetrack and park. In addition, there was housing for rent, offered in a range of innovative designs targeting specific social classes with detached and terraced villas, apartment buildings, tenement blocks with balcony access and workers’ bungalows.
Wikipedia.

 

Sultana Melek Palace

Google Maps.

Belgian engineer Baron Empain built the palace as a gift to Sultan Hussein Kamel. Following Kamel’s death, the palace’s ownership transferred to the Heliopolis Company for Housing & Development which leased it to Hussein’s second wife Sultana Melek Tourhan. The palace then became a school during the 1960s, and was later recorded on the list of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in 2000.
Egypt Independent: Egypt begins restoring Sultana Melek Palace in Heliopolis

Sultan Hussein Kamel’s palace in Heliopolis dates back to the year 1908. Sultan Hussein Kamel took power in a dangerous period in the history of Egypt between 1914 and 1917, when Britain had imposed martial law on Egypt during the First World War. The palace, located opposite to Baron Empain’s palace, was built before Hussein Kamel assumed power. It was then gifted to Sultana Malak, his second wife of Circassian origin, whom he married in 1886.

The palace of Sultan Hussein Kamel is among the first buildings of Heliopolis. It was designed by French architect Alexander Marcel in 1908 and was implemented with clear Moroccan influences to revive Islamic architecture.
Egypt Today

 

Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral

Google Street View.

Our Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral, also known as the Latin Cathedral of Our Lady of Heliopolis, or the Basilica of the Holy Virgin, is a Roman Catholic church building, located on Al-Ahram Square in the Heliopolis neighbourhood of Cairo, Egypt. Alexandre Marcel designed the cathedral in a Byzantine Revival style, based on the Hagia Sophia. It was completed in 1913. A crypt within the cathedral houses the remains of its financer, Édouard Empain, and his family.
Wikipedia.

 

Heliopolis Palace Hotel

Google Maps.

The Heliopolis Palace Hotel was built in the open desert from 1908–1910, while development of the new suburb began around it, by the Heliopolis Oases Company. It was opened as Africa’s most luxurious hotel on December 1, 1910. The landmark hotel was designed by Belgian architect Ernest Jaspar. He introduced the local Heliopolis style of architecture, a synthesis of Persian, Moorish Revival, Islamic, and European Neoclassical architecture. It was built by the contracting firms Leon Rolin & Co. and Padova, Dentamaro & Ferro, the two largest civil contractors in Egypt then. Siemens & Schuepert of Berlin fitted the hotel’s web of electric cables and installations. The utilities were to the most modern standards of their day. The hotel operations were under French administered management. The Heliopolis architectural style, responsible for many wonderful original buildings in Heliopolis, was exceptionally expressed in the Heliopolis Palace Hotel’s exterior and interior design. The hotel had 400 rooms, including 55 private apartments. Beyond the Moorish Revival reception hall two public rooms were lavishly decorated in the Louis XIV and the Louis XV styles. Beyond those was the Central Hall, the primary public dining space with a classic symmetrical and elegant beauty.
. . .
In 1958, the hotel was purchased by the government and closed to guests.[3] It was then used to house the offices of government departments. In January 1972, the building became the headquarters of the Federation of Arab Republics, the short-lived political union between Egypt, Libya and Syria, which gave it the current Arabic name of قصر الاتحادية Kasr Al Ittihadia (“Federation Palace”). In the 1980s, after extensive renovation and restoration efforts, the building became an Egyptian presidential palace and the headquarters of the administration of the new president, Hosni Mubarak.
Wikipedia.

The First Australian General Hospital was to be placed in the Heliopolis Palace Hotel at Heliopolis. . . . Some description is required, however, of the Heliopolis Palace Hotel. This, as the photograph shows, is a huge hotel de luxe, consisting of a basement and four stories. It was arranged that the kitchens, stores, and accommodation for rank and file should be placed in the basement. The first floor was allotted to offices and officers’ quarters; a wing of the third floor provided accommodation for nurses, and the only portions of the building used at first for patients were the large restaurant and dining-room, and the billiard recesses, i.e. the Rotundas and Great Hall.
The Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt, 1918 (Project Gutenberg) (includes floor plan)

Al-Azhar University, Cairo


CAIRO – El Azhar university
Postmarked 1922
Publisher: P. Coustoulides

Al-Azhar University is a university in Cairo, Egypt. Associated with Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo, it is Egypt’s oldest degree-granting university and is renowned as the most prestigious university for Sunni Islamic learning.
Wikipedia.

Al-Azhar began as a mosque built in 970 AD during the Fatmid era, and became a Sunni institution after the conquest by Saladin in 1171. With the abolition of the caliphate and the office of Shaykh al-Islam (seyhul Islam) in Istanbul in 1924, al-Azhar became the paramount Islamic institution. There is no clear consensus as to when al-Azhar became a centre of learning. Al-Azhar is inclusive of the four major Sunni schools of law, the Ashari and Maturidi schools of theology, and seven major Sufi orders. Al-Azhar has been through several stages of reform: in the nineteenth century it was transformed from madrasa to university, with the Azhar Organisation Laws of 1896 and 1911 creating a centralised bureaucracy that allowed the institution’s head, the Grand Sheikh, to oversee its general administration.
University of Oxford: Changing Structures of Islamic Authority

Al-Rifa’i Mosque, Cairo


CAIRO – The Mosque El Rifaiyeh
Publisher: Lehnert & Landrock (1904+)

Google Street View.

Al-Rifa’i Mosque is located in Midan al-Qal’a adjacent to the Cairo Citadel. Now, it is also the royal mausoleum of Muhammad Ali’s family. The building is located opposite the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, which dates from around 1361, and was architecturally conceived as a complement to the older structure. This was part of a vast campaign by the 19th century rulers of Egypt to both associate themselves with the perceived glory of earlier periods in Egypt’s Islamic history and modernize the city. The mosque was constructed next to two large public squares and off of several European style boulevards constructed around the same time. The Al-Rifa’i Mosque was constructed in two phases over the period between 1869 and 1912 when it was finally completed.
Wikipedia.

The original structure was a Fatimid mosque, which was then transformed into a shrine for Ali abu Sheibak. Finally, Ottoman queen Kosheir Hanim commissioned the current design of the mosque and put in charge of the construction the architect Hussein Pasha Fahmi. Part of the plan was to have a mausoleum for the royal family as part of the extension, which was made by imported building materials from Europe, such as Italian marble. In addition to traditional raw materials, cement has also been employed in the construction of the mosque—a first for any Islamic monument in Egypt—signaling the transition into modern times.
Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities: Egypt’s Monuments

This monument represents a turning point in the cultural and political history of Egypt. It looks onto straight boulevards and open squares, two aspects of European city planning introduced during the reign of Muhammad ‘Ali and his successors, who sought to transform Egypt’s traditional society into a cosmopolitan one. Designed as a free-standing monument, the Mosque of al-Rifa’i responds to its site by presenting four fully articulated facades in addition to a highly decorated, Mamluk-style dome and minaret.
ArchNet