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The Late Bahri Period

13th-14th Century
12 - The Development of Residential Architecture in Bahri Cairo
Possible Prototype: The Palace of al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub at the Roda Citadel (1248).
Mamluk Residences: The spreading of the Qa`a model.
The Palace of Amir Alin Aq (1293):  Built on the Darb al-Ahmar, the ceremonial road leading from the Bab Zuwaila in al-Qahira up to the Citadel. Its main qa`a is among the most monumental halls with two iwans.
The Ablaq Palace (1311): The most famous of al-Nasir Muhammad's palaces at the Citadel, it had four two-iwan qa`as arranged in a row and overlooking the city.
The Palace of Amir Qawsun (1333-36): Perhaps the most elaborate of princely palaces, it was built across the Citadel by order of al-Nasir Muhammad. Its main qa`a has a cross-axial four-iwan plan.
The Palace of Amir Bashtak (1339): Built in the heart of Fatimid al- Qahira on the site of the Eastern Palace, Its main qa`a has a two-iwan plan.
The Qa`a of Muhib al-Din (1350): A rare example of a merchant dwelling off the central artery (the old Fatimid avenue) in al-Qahira.
A general view of the Qa`a of Muhib al-Din from the west
Street Façade of the Qa`a of Muhib al-Din
View from one of the two iwans toward the durqaŒa and the other iwan
View of the shukhshikha above the durqaŒa
Qa`a: The most common hall type in medieval architecture, the qa`a normally is a living space with two iwans facing each other on the main axis (but could have one, three, or four iwans) and wall recesses on the remaining sides. The central space between the iwans, called durqa`a (literally the entry to the qa`a) is one step lower and has a higher ceiling and is usually roofed with a lantern or a dome. Badhahanj: Wind catcher or ventilator. In a Mamluk qa`a it is usually in the form of an open shaft rising above either one of the iwans. The side of the badhahanj facing the direction of the desirable wind was open, and covered with a wooden grille. The cover of the shaft slopes back so as to direct the refreshing air inside and downward.

Mushrabiyya: Wooden screen made of intricate geometric lattice work, usually used in Cairene houses both as a decorative element and to reduce the glare of direct sun and to provide the inhabitants with a view to the outside without being seen.


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Burji Mamluk Architecture


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