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Northern Cemetery of Cairo

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Islamic Art & Architecture Series 10
Availability: In stock
Published: 2001
Page #: viii + 104
Size: 9 x 12
ISBN: 1-56859-126-8
plates, appendix, bibliography

 
$49.00

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Quick Overview

The Northern Cemetery of Cairo deals with the beginnings, growth and decline of one of the most important cemeteries of Cairo, which is quintessentially a product of Mamluk patronage. This cemetery was a separate entity isolated on all sides; to the south the steep descent of Bab al-Wazir and the Citadel complex separated it from the Qarafa; to the west the Barqiyya mounds and the Cairo wall separated it from the city proper; to the east al-Gabal al-Ahmar fixed its physical limit; its northern boundaries, however, are not clearly defined.
The Mamluks, unlike the preceding dynasties ruling Egypt, failed to develop a new significant urban settlement in their domains. Instead they primarily extended and consolidated some of the existing cities. The establishment of the Northern Cemetery reflects a shift in the Mamluk’s policy . This area was used for military training and as a parade ground, reflecting the military spirit of the formative years of the young state. Urbanization of the area started with the relaxation of the military spirit during the third reign of al-Nasir Muhammad and proceeded slowly during the ensuing period of internal struggle after his death.
The Burgi period witnessed royal patronage of the area for the first time starting with al-Nasir Farag. The economic, military and social decadence of the later Burgi sultanate did not prevent the steady growth and the artistic excellence that had characterized the period here, as it did elsewhere in Cairo. The reign of Qaitbay, considered by many as the last great Mamluk Sultan, was the final attempt of the dying dynasty at progress.
The main street of the Northern Cemetery, dotted on both sides with royal foundations, remotely resembles the Qasaba of Cairo, void of the latter’s intensive activity. The area is perhaps the nearest attempt of the Mamluks to establish an urban settlement, dedicated not for the living but for the deceased.

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