Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Mosque of Amir Jamal al-Din al-Ustadar

This 15th century Mamluk mosque is located in Al-Jamaleyia quarter, a densely populated area of ​​Cairo.Rue Al-Jamaleyia with Al-Muizz Street, parallel, are two of the most known and visited places in Cairo today. They contain the highest density and the most varied monuments, which form the heart of Islamic Cairo. Al-Ustadar mosque next wikalat Bazara and face the remains of Al-Musaferkhana Palace.Amir Jamal Al-Din Al-Ustadar founded the mosque in 1407. He was one of the most influential and powerful emirs during the reign of Sultan Al-Nasr Farag Ibn Barquq who ruled Egypt in 1399. Jamal Al-Din was also responsible for several other buildings in the area and this is from where the name of this quarter, Al-Jamaleyia is derived.Al-Ustadar mosque was heavily influenced by the architectural style and taste of the Madrasa and Khanqah of Sultan Barquq as was the case for many other complex built during this period.
Although the mosque has somewhat of a strange place on the corner of a busy main road, it is cleverly designed. The architect has adapted to the different requirements of a religious complex within the iwans regardless of the rectangular space: a curved entrance, Sabil, a tomb and ablution area.The structure has a high above the shops that occupy the lower floor distinctive architectural facade. It is a common feature usually seen in many medieval mosques and madrasas like renting these stores contributed to the expenses of the cost of building maintenance.The plan of the mosque is one of only three that have an existing plan madrasa cross dedicated to the four rites or religious schools.The curved entrance, covered with a beautifully decorated wooden ceiling leads you into a courtyard which is covered to protect those who pray as direct sunlight.The courtyard is surrounded by four heavily iwans where each decorated in a different size. A curious feature in the mosque is the size of northwest Iwan, which is almost one and a half times deeper than the one containing the prayer niche (qibla).Qibla Iwan is decorated with panels of white arabesques, blue and gold, while the turquoise pillars remain as hints of the former richness of decoration. Also found in the Qibla Iwan is a distinguishably wooden minbar (pulpit) carved.This vast and rich decoration in four iwans the mosque could be due to the fact that Amir Jamal Al-Din Al-Ustadar intended to create a kind of palace retired later.Like many other monuments in the area, the mosque was severely damaged over the years because of the humidity and pollution. Other reasons that have contributed to his suffering when shops on the ground floor along the narrow street and the earthquake in 1992, has contributed to its deterioration.Today, Jamal Al-Din Al-Ustadar stands in good shape after three years of restoration work.Long after his inauguration, some historians and archaeologists werent fully satisfied with the results of the restoration, mainly due to additional construction in the fixtures that had the air of the historic monument.However, the monument has regained some of its earlier appeal and remains today as a landmark and an example of Egypts Islamic rich historical period.

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