4. Route. OO
Persian name of badgir, by means of which the cool north-wind is
introduced into the houses.
The Gami'a Ibn Kalaun (PL F, 6), situated to the N.E. of the Mosque
of Mohammed 'Ali, was erected in 1317 by Sultan en-Nasir. Long used
as a military magazine and storehouse, it has recently been cleared out,
and is willingly shown by the British military authorities. It exhibits
traces of the Romanesque taste on the exterior, particularly on the portals.
In the interior are some marble columns with ancient capitals.
Immediately to the S.E. of the Mosque of Ibn Kalaun is the so-called
Well of Joseph (BirYtisuf; PL F, 6), a square shaft, sunk in the limestone rock
to a depth of 290 ft. Within the shaft, at a depth of about 155 ft., is a
platform on which the oxen stood that brought the water to the surface
by means of a sakiyeh. The well formerly provided the citadel with water,
but has lost its importance since the completion of the new water-works
(p. 63). When the citadel was constructed here in the 12th cent., the
builders discovered an ancient shaft filled with sand, which Saldheddin
Ytisuf (p. 32) caused to be re-opened and named after himself Yusuf's, or
Joseph's, Well. This circumstance gave rise to the tradition, which was
chiefly current among the Jews, that this was the well into which the
Joseph of Scripture was put hy his brethren.
The Gami'a Suleman Pasha (PL F, 6), also called Sdryat, on the N.E.
side of the citadel, was erected in 1526 by Suleman, the Mameluke, after¬
wards Sultan Selim. The architecture is a mixture of Arabian and Turkish.
The mosque is small, but carefully executed. It contains Cufic inscriptions,
marble mosaics, a decorated prayer-recess, a pulpit in marble, and in¬
To the tombs of the Khalifs and Mamelukes, see p. 64.
From the Bdb el-Gebel ('mountain-gate'), to the E. of the citadel, a road
leads straight to the Mokattam (p. 108). A road diverging to the right a
little farther on leads to a Dervish Monastery (visitors admitted), situated
on a mountain-slope. (The monastery may also be reached from the Place
Mehemet Ali via the narrow lanes between the Tombs of the Mamelukes
and the citadel.) An easy staircase ascends to an attractive court, in
which are situated the residences of the monks. Coffee is frequently
offered to travellers, all recompense being declined. From the court a
dark cave (probably an old quarry) enters the mountain-side, with the
graves of deceased dervishes. At the end is a chamber containing the tomb
of the founder of the order of dervishes, where worshippers are frequently
observed. The remains of a female relative of the Khedive also rest here
under an elaborate gilt tomb.
We return to the Place Rumeleh (p. 51) and follow the Shari'a
Mohammed 'Ali to its intersection with the Shdri'a el-Hilmlyeh
(PL D, 5, 6; the donkey-drivers know short-cuts hither from the
citadel). We follow the latter street and its continuation es-Siyu-
flyeh. Three minarets soon come into sight, the two most distant
belonging to the Gami'a Shekhun (PL D, 6). At the corner opposite
the mosque is the Sebil of the Mother of 'Abbas I. (PI. D, 6), in
marble, rich and effective in general appearance, but lacking finish
in its details. The street now takes the name of Shdri'a er-Rukblyeh
(PL D, 6, 7). We follow it for about 300 yds., and turn down the
Shdri'a Ibn TulUn to the right, in which, after about 70 yds. more,
we observe on the right a lane leading to the E. entrance of the —
*Gami'a Ibn Tulun (PL D, 7; also pronounced Talun). This
mosque, the oldest in Cairo, was erected by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, the
founder of the dynasty of the Tulunides (p. xciii), in the year 879.