May 4, 2012

Fostat in Cairo Egypt

The Cities that Make Up Cairo, c. 960
Ebn Haukal

The chief city of Egypt is called Fostat, situated on the bank of the River Nile to the north. The Nile flows from the east; and this city is situated on one side of it. Near to it are certain edifices, called Jezireh, or the Island, to which they pass from Fostat on a bridge; and from this Jezireh they have constructed a bridge to the other bank, where there is a place called Jeirah [Giza], The extent of the city is about two thirds of a farsang: it is very well inhabited, and supplied with provisions; all their houses are seven or eight storeys high. . . . Hamra is a town situated on the bank of the River Nile.

Fostat Egypt
It has two principal mosques: one in the middle of the town built by Amru ben Aas; and the other in the place called Mouekef, erected by Laaher ben Toulon. Without the town is a certain place of about a mile in extent, which that Laaher Toulon called to be built for his troops: this they call Fetaia or Ketaia. . . . On the northern side of the river Nile, near Fostat, there is a certain hill, called Moazem, in the vicinity of which is found the khemahein, and this hill extends to the land of the Ionians (Greeks). And near that hill, in the district of Fostat, is a burying place, where the tomb of Shafaei is situated, the Lord be merciful to him!

In the vicinity of Fostat, there grows a plant, called balsam, from which the oil is extracted. This is not to be found in any other part of the world.

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