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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Contribution to Islam                  365
The Bahri Mamluks are represented by the rnosques of
Baybars I (1269), al-Nasir Muhammad (1318-35), and al-
Maridani (1340): during this period the large wooden dome
covering the sanctuary was evolved, replacing the little dome
hitherto featured. The great madrasa of Sultan Hasan (1356-
68) also stands to the credit of these rulers, of which K. A.
Creswell writes:1
'When one stands at the entrance to the great sahn [courtyard], and
observes its vast proportions, its rich yet restrained decoration, the
grandeur and simplicity of its lines, the height and breadth of its great
vaults, and the rich stalactite balconies of the minaret rising over the
south corner, one feels bound to admit that this madrasa is one of the
great things of the world.'
Many noteworthy additions to the architectural glory of
Cairo were made under the succeeding dynasty of the Burji
Mamluks, notably the Barquq mosque situated in the Tombs
of the Caliphs. Despite the economic difficulties which clouded
the Turkish period—and the discovery of the Cape route to
India is to be accounted an important contributory cause of this
decline—there are yet evidences of the continuity of skill and
craftsmanship, which did not receive the truly fatal blow until
the advent of European influence at the end of the eighteenth
century. Isolated buildings in the Saracen tradition have been
constructed since that time, among which mention may be made
of the Muhammad *Ali Mosque: but it is a melancholy fact that
at the present day Western modes of architecture have com-
pletely superseded the true native art—serious mention need
not be made of the rare attempts to rear bastard imitations of
ancient Egyptian monuments—and almost all the buildings
constructed during this century, public and private alike, might
equally well have been erected in any modern European city.
The future will show whether Muslim architectural tradition
1 The Art of Egypt, p. 66.