May 4, 2012

Buildings of Cairo Egypt

The Buildings of Cairo, c. 1200
Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi

One notices in the buildings of the Egyptians a marvellous art and a very wise disposition of the parts; it is very rare to leave any place unused which has no purpose. Their palaces are vast: usually they make their abode in the upper floors, and are practical enough to make the openings of their Cairo houses exposed to the agreeable winds from the north. One sees hardly any Cairo houses which have not their ventilators. Their ventilators are tall and wide and open to every action of the wind; they are placed carefully with much skill.

Buildings of Cairo
The markets and streets in Egypt are very wide and the buildings very high. They construct them of hewn stone and red bricks. . . . They construct the latrine drains very solidly, and I found in a ruined palace these drains still existing in good condition. They dug the trenches until water was found, in a manner so that for a very long time there was no need to clean them out.

Cairo Buildings
When they build a tenement Cairo houses , a palace for a prince, or a covered market, they get an engineer and entrust its execution to him. He comes to the place, which is on a slight elevation or platform, devises a plan in his mind, and arranges all the parts of the plan, following the kind of building required. After this he undertakes successively the various parts one after the other, and finishes the whole in a way so that as each part is finished it is inhabited, until all is completed. One part finished, he undertakes another, and so on till the whole building in all its parts is united, without their being any fault or omission to be remedied afterwards.

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