Madrasa al-Sultan al-Zahir Baybars
Cairo, Egypt
Next to the tomb of al-Salih once stood the Madrasa of Sultan Baybars I. Aybak, who married al-Salih Ayyub's widow, Shagarat al-Durr, in 1250, was one of al-Salih's slaves and the first Mamluk ruler, but the Mamluk Empire really began with Baybars al-Bunduqdari (Baybars of the Crossbow), who ruled from 1260 to 1277. A great leader, organizer, and builder, Baybars defeated Hulagu's Mongols at 'Ayn Jalut (Goliath's Spring) in Palestine in 1260, after they had destroyed Baghdad in 1258, then he carried on a series of successful and almost overwhelming campaigns against the Crusaders. His madrasa, called the Zahiriya, was built on the site of the Hall of Tents and the Hall of the Lotus of the great Eastern Palace of the Fatimids, next to the tomb of his former master al-Salih Ayyub.

The Madrasa of Baybars I existed until 1874, when it was destroyed to make way for a road from Suq al-Nahhasin to Maydan Bayt al-Qadi. In 1882 the minaret fell. All that survives today is the block of stones that was once the lower part of the west corner. Over the windows on the south side are carved stone relieving arches, under which are two panthers carved in stone. Baybars means 'lord panther,' and the animal appears on several of his works. The bronze-plated door from this madrasa is now at the main entrance of the French Embassy in Cairo, on Sharia a-Giza.


Meinecke, Michael. 1992. Die Mamlukische Architektur in Ägypten und Syrien (648/1250 bis 923/1517). Glückstadt: Verlag J. J. Augustin, I/27.

Williams, Caroline. 2002. Islamic Monuments in Cairo:The Practical Guide. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 164.
Shari' al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah, Cairo, Egypt
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1262-63/660-62 AH
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Sultan al-Zahir Baybars Madrasa
Madrasat al-Sultan al-Zahir Baybars
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