The Necropolises and the Moqattam Hills, Cairo
The cemeteries and necropolises which lay outside the old Fatimid town, to the east, have now been incorporated in the expanding city. Some of them are still in use; some, indeed, provide dwellings for the poorest of the living as well as for the dead.
An attractive trip (half day) may be made from Cairo to the Moqattam Hills, or Gebel Giyushi, to the east of the city. From this 650ft/200m high range of hills of nummulitic limestone (fossils, including fossil trees) there are superb views; a particularly good viewpoint is the rocky spur to the south of the conspicuous Giyushi Mosque (1085). The area is sometimes closed to the public as a military zone; care should be taken not to photograph military features. A short distance northwest of the mosque, picturesquely situated on the slopes of the hills, is the Bektashi Convent, belonging to a Turkish Order of Dervishes.
Convent-Mosque of Sultan Barquq
Of the various tombs in the northern group is the Convent-Mosque of Sultan Barquq, a square structure measuring 240ft/73m each way with two minarets and two splendid domes (1400-05 and 1410). In the sanctuary is a fine stone pulpit of 1483.
Burial Mosque of Qait Bey
Some 660yd/ 600m southwest of the Barquq Mosque, in the southern group of mausoleum is the Burial Mosque of Qait Bey (1474), perhaps the finest of them all. Notable features are the decoration of the walls in bands of different colors, the delicate reticulation of the dome and the elegant form of the 130ft/40m high minaret. The prayer hall is floored with marble mosaic. Adjoining the splendidly colorful mausoleum, with a richly ornamented reading desk, is a hall containing the tombs of the Sultan's four wives.
Tombs of the Caliphs
Tombs of the Mamelukes
The Tombs of the Mamelukes, to the south of the Citadel, largely in a state of ruin. In the southern part of this necropolis is the magnificent Burial Mosque of Imam el-Shafii (founder of the Shafiite school of Islam), built in 1211, with a massive dome.
The Necropolises and the Moqattam Hills Pictures
Map of Cairo Attractions