The Silk-Mercers’ Bazaar of al-Ghuriya, Cairo

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Market street running between the two main buildings of the funerary complex of Sultan al-Ghuri
Bazaar of the silk mercers, Cairo.
(Plate 15.)

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The New York Public Library

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View of the market street running between the two main buildings of the funerary complex of Sultan al-Ghuri, built in the early 16th century. The bazaar is described as follows by the authors:

The actual situation of this bazaar is between the walls of these two mosques, which finish at the top with a trefoil sort of battlement whereon rafters rest, with props to support the wooden roof, that at a great height covers the Bazaar, admitting light enough, but sheltering it from the rays of the sun. Each Bazaar is generally appropriated to a particular class of merchandise, and this, the chief in Cairo, for the sale of rich silks, cottons, and embroidered stuffs, some wrought in gold-thread and other costly materials; and the articles to be bought here are the most splendid productions of this class. The Bazaars of Cairo, as in all Eastern cities, are confined to streets and passages, which are closed at night by wooden doors and a chain, and guarded by watchmen: they are, however, by day the gayest and most amusing parts of the city. Here the shopkeeper rests on a sort of dais, or shopboard, about three feet above the footway, his goods being kept in recesses behind him. He generally sits cross-legged and patient, awaiting the arrival of a customer; he uses little art to induce him to purchase; he sits in solemn silence, and will scarcely remove his pipe from his lips to answer the inquiries of the passers-by.

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