The maristan was built by Sultan al-Mu'ayyad between 1418 and 1420; it was the second public hospital built in Cairo after that of Qalawun (1284). It is noted for its monumental scale, unprecedented in a civic building, which was clearly inspired by the nearby free-standing grandiose Madrasa of Sultan Hasan
, and also for its portal, which is set in a pishtaq, a feature which gives the facade a Persian character. The portal has a muqarnas hood and a window with a pair of colonnettes with a snake, a symbol of healing.
The maristan is built on the site of the madrasa of Sultan al-Ashraf Sha'ban, which was founded in 1375/776 AH and demolished by Sultan Farag ibn Barquq in 1411/813 AH. The building is a shell and has lost many sections of its outlying structure. The area in front was leveled ca. 2005 by the Supreme Council of Antiquities to allow a full view of the maristan's facade.
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