Iwān El-Ser at Al-Malik Al-Şāleḥ Najm Al-Dīn Ayyūb Complex in Cairo: Reconsidered Based on Its Foundation Inscription

Document Type : research articles


1 Faculty of Archaeology Sohag University, Sohag, Egypt

2 Islamic Archaeology Dep., Faculty of Archaeology, Fayoum University


This paper examines the significant architectural component known as “Iwān El-Ser”, located within the Complex of Al-Sultān Al-Malik Al-Şāleḥ Najm Al-Dīn Ayyūb. The study focuses on the historical and archaeological aspects of this administrative foundation, which served as a court during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The research investigates the function and evolution of Iwān El-Ser from the Ayyūbid era to the Ottoman period, shedding light on its historical context and archaeological implications.
The study delves into several key areas, including the layout of the complex based on historical and archaeological resources. Additionally, it explores the specific role of Iwān El-Ser during the reign of Al-Şāleḥ Najm Al-Dīn Ayyūb, highlighting its function as an integral part of his complex in Cairo. Furthermore, the paper examines the reasons behind the construction of Iwān El-Ser within the complex and its subsequent utilization as a court during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
The main findings of this research can be summarized as follows: Firstly, it is revealed that the Complex of Al-Malik Al-Şāleḥ Najm Al-Dīn Ayyūb in Cairo housed an administrative foundation known as Iwān El-Ser, thus rectifying a previous misinterpretation regarding the Mamluk title “Katib Al-Ser” within Ayyūbid history. Secondly, the study establishes that Iwān El-Ser as a court during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, known as “Al-Şāleḥiyā Court.” Following its destruction by fire, the court was relocated to a neighboring historic building called “Maqʿad Māmāi,” assuming the name “Al-Bāb Al-ʿāli.” Finally, this study defines the specific placement of Iwān El-Ser within the overall structure of the Complex.
This study contributes to the understanding of the architectural and historical significance of Iwān El-Ser within the broader context of the Ayyūbid and subsequent periods. It rectifies past misinterpretations, provides new insights into its functions, and offers a comprehensive analysis of its historical and archaeological implications.


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