Takiyya Ibrahim al-Kulshani
Cairo, Egypt
The foundation of al-Kulshani was built as a Sufi complex dedicated to the Khalwati order by Shaykh Ibrahim al-Kulshani between 1519 and 1524. The founder, who served as a government official under Uzun Hasan of the Aq Qoyunlu dynasty, fled after the Safavid conquest of Azerbayjan and took refuge in Egypt under the Mamluk Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri.

This is the earliest Sufi complex to be referred to as a takiyya, a Turkish term introduced into Egypt after the Ottoman conquest and applied to Sufi religious foundations which included residences for the Sufis. It reflects a clear emancipation from the rules that governed Sufi architecture in the previous era when it conformed to the prevalent styles of religious foundations. Unlike official religious architecture, Sufi architecture from the early Ottoman period did not adopt a specific style or spatial pattern, but instead was independently shaped by the requirements and character of the shaykh whom the foundation followed.

Much of the facade and perimeter courtyard structure of the building seems to have been substantially remodeled, leaving the al-Kulshani's tomb as the only original element. The tomb sits in the center of the courtyard and is covered internally and externally with eighteenth-century blue and white Iznik-style tiles. The building has a trilobed portal accessed by a steep flight of steps and flanked by a drinking spout with an inscribed marble dedication of 1842/1258 AH. Much of the western facade has collapsed.


Behrens-Abouseif, Doris, and Leonor Fernandes. "Sufi Architecture in Early Ottoman Cairo." Annales Islamologiques 20 (1984): 103-114.

Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. "The Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Kulshani in Cairo." Muqarnas 5 (1988): 43-60.

Fernandes, Leonor. "Two Variations on the Same Theme: The Zawiya of Hasan al-Rumi, The Takiyya of Ibrahim al-Kulshani." Annales Islamologiques 21 (1985): 95-111.

Jarrar, Sabri, András Riedlmayer, and Jeffrey B. Spurr. Resources for the Study of Islamic Architecture. Cambridge, MA: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, 1994. http://archnet.org/publications/2704.

Warner, Nicholas. The monuments of historic Cairo: a map and descriptive catalogue, 145. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2005.
Bab Zuwayla, Cairo, Egypt
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Associated Names
1519-1524/925-931 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Takiyya Ibrahim al-Kulshani
Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani
Alternate transliteration
Takiyya and Mausoleum of Ibrahim al-Kulshani
Takiyat Ibrahim al-Kulshani
Alternate transliteration
Taqiyat Ibrahim al-Kulshani
Alternate transliteration
Building Usages