Bayt Al-Razzaz palace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bayt Al-Razzaz
بيت الرضا
Bayt-al-razzaz-cairo.jpg
Entrance to Bayt al-Razzaz, Cairo, photograph by Gabriel Lekegian, late 19th century
General information
TypeMansion
Architectural styleMamluk/ Ottoman
Address56 Bab al-Wazir Street
Town or cityCairo
CountryEgypt
Completed1480
Renovated1977-2007
Technical details
MaterialStone, brick and wood
Floor count4
Other information
Number of rooms190

The Bayt al-Razzaz Palace is a mansion, in the heart of medieval Cairo, Egypt, constructed from the late 15th century through the late 18th century. The 190-room urban palace in the Darb al-Ahmar neighborhood of medieval Cairo was abandoned in the 1960s, but a restoration project rehabilitated the eastern building between 1977 and 2007. The property belongs to the Ministry of State for Antiquities which has plans to restore the western complex.

Description[edit]

Originally built in the 15th-century during the Mamluk Sultanate, Bayt Al-Razzaz is a mansion now comprising two houses, two central courtyards, and other utility structures such as stables, baths, storerooms etc. The number of buildings along with its size gives the structure the impression of being palatial.[1] The two properties, which collectively comprise 190 rooms, were connected via a single passageway sometime in the early 19th-century, as a result of a marriage contract.[2]

The first house (eastern side) was built in around 1480 by Sultan Quaytbay and features highly decorative mashrabiya windows on the second floor, overlooking the street and others looking out over the courtyard.[3] The structure is primarily of stone and brick, with carved wooden windows. Interior walls and ceilings are of fine painted wood panels. The flat roof is constructed of layers of mortar over horizontal sheathing boards.[4] The second floor was used as the women's quarters while the downstairs area was occupied by the men.[5]

The second house (western side) was built by a wealthy rice merchant, Ahmad al-Razzaz, in the 18th-century, probably to accommodate a growing family and an increasingly complex network of relationships. The buildings were occupied by the same families for centuries.[6]

Situated in Darb al-Ahmar neighbourhood, the complex occupies a vast area and is bounded by Bab al-Wazir Street on one side, and the Suwayqat al-'Izza/Suq al-Silan on the other, with entrances on both streets,[7] and is adjacent to the Mosque Sha'ban.[8]

The structure was abandoned in the 1960s, and became the property of the Ministry of State for Antiquities (formerly the Supreme Council of Antiquities).[9] From the late 1970s, a team led by American Research Center in Egypt carried out restoration work on the eastern complex which were completed in 2007. The western building remains in need of restoration and the Ministry has plans to restore it for use as offices, however in light of the political unrest in Egypt, the World Monuments Fund considers the project to be "at risk".[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, C., Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide, American University in Cairo Press, 2008, p. 89
  2. ^ O'Kane, B. (ed.), Creswell Photographs Re-examined: New Perspectives on Islamic Architecture, American Univeresity in Cairo Press, 2009, pp 54-55; Apparently a member of the Al-Razzaz family married a member of the family occupying the neighbouring property, resulting in the two properties being joined.
  3. ^ Williams, C., Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide, American University in Cairo Press, 2008, p. 89
  4. ^ Morton, W. Brown, "The Bayt al-Razzaz Palace: Developing an Existing Conditions Report." APT Bulletin, vol. 28, No. 2/3, 1997, pp. 44-50, https://www.jstor.org/stable/1504533 Online:
  5. ^ Fay, M-A., Unveiling the Harem: Elite Women and the Paradox of Seclusion in Eighteenth Century Cairo, Syracuse University Press, 2012 p. 202
  6. ^ Williams, C., Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide, American University in Cairo Press, 2008, pp 89-90; Fay, M-A., Unveiling the Harem: Elite Women and the Paradox of Seclusion in Eighteenth Century Cairo, Syracuse University Press, 2012 p. 202
  7. ^ Fay, M-A., Unveiling the Harem: Elite Women and the Paradox of Seclusion in Eighteenth Century Cairo, Syracuse University Press, 2012 p. 202
  8. ^ Williams, C., Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide, American University in Cairo Press, 2008, p. 89
  9. ^ Morton, W. Brown, "Bayt al‐Razzaz: The challenge of adaptive use for a vacant Mamluk palace in Cairo," International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 3, no. 3, 1997, pp 135-143, DOI: 10.1080/13527259708722200; Bacharach, J.L., The Restoration and Conservation of Islamic Monuments in Egypt, American University in Cairo Press, 1995, p. 18
  10. ^ World Monuments Fund, ""Bayt al-Razzaz," Online:

Further reading[edit]

  • UNESCO article
  • Bloom, J. and Blair, S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture, Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 121

External links[edit]

  • American University of Cairo, Digital Collection, Photographs of Bayt al-Razzaz by K.A.C. Creswell, late 19th-century Online:

Coordinates: 30°02′15″N 31°15′33″E / 30.03750°N 31.25917°E / 30.03750; 31.25917