Sabil wa Kuttab al-Qizlar
Cairo, Egypt
The Rab' of al-Qizlar, built in 1618 above a row of shops, illustrates Cairene modular apartment building design from the Ottoman period. The footprint of each apartment occupies one module, which, on the ground floor, is demarcated by one shop. A corridor on the rear side of the first floor serves as access to the apartments. In each apartment, a small vestibule leads to a latrine, a double-storied living space consisting of an iwan and a durqa'a, and narrow stairs rising to an upper living room and a private roof terrace.

On the right facade are three shops; on the left, two shops and a staircase, which leads up to the living units on the upper floors. Although still a place of work and residence, today it is the facade that is least changed.


Depaule, Jean-Charles. Actualité de l'habitat ancien au Caire: le Rab' Qizlar. Cairo: Cedej, 1986.

Jarrar, Sabri, András Riedlmayer, and Jeffrey B. Spurr. Resources for the Study of Islamic Architecture. Cambridge, MA: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, 1994.

Raymond, André, and Gaston Wiet. "The Rab': A Type of Collective Housing in Cairo during the Ottoman Period." In Architecture as Symbol and Self-Identity: proceedings of seminar four in the series Architectural transformations in the Islamic world, held in Fez, Morocco, October 9-12, 1979, 55-62. n.p.: [Philadelphia] : The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1980.

Raymond, André. "The Residential Districts of Cairo during the Ottoman Period." In The Arab City: Its Character and Islamic Cultural Heritage : proceedings of a symposium held in Medina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 28 Feb.-5 March, 1981. edited by Ismail Serageldin and Samir El-Sadek with the assistance of Richard Herbert. 1982.

Sayed, Hazem. The Rab' in Cairo: A Window on Mamluk Architecture and Urbanism. Ph.D. diss., MIT, Cambridge, Mass. 1987.

Williams, Caroline. Islamic Monuments in Cairo:The Practical Guide. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 104. 2002.
Shari' al-Suyufiyah, Cairo, Egypt
Images & Videos
Associated Names
1618/1027-1028 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Sabil wa Kuttab al-Qizlar
Rab' and Sabil-Kuttab of al-Qizlar
Sabil wa-Kuttab Mustafa Agha Dar al-Sa'arah
Sabil al-Qizlar
al-Qizlar Complex
Building Usages
apartment building