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A maq‘ad (literally, a sitting-place) was part of every wealthy house in Cairo in the Mamluk, and later Ottoman periods. It was a reception hall, often with a guest bedroom attached. A maq‘ad typically faced the inner courtyard, the central space of every household. It was always located on the upper floor, raised over storerooms that were located on the ground floor, and accessible via its own staircase, so the visiting guests entered directly from the courtyard, without passing through the private upper section of the house. Here, the entrance porch of the staircase is very richly decorated.

The maq`ad was usually open-fronted, with an arcade of arches supported on stone columns. These loggias always faced north, and were thus never exposed to direct sunshine. This maq‘ad is unusual in being an enclosed hall with multiple windows. When the building was completed, a wall pierced by large windows replaced the arcade of open arches that had first been built. The peculiar construction of the front wall suggests that this was a last-minute change of mind. An arrangement with windows instead of arches is rare, but not unique in Cairo. Another example, modelled after this one, can be found nearby in the funerary complex of Amir Kabir Qurqumas.

After conservation carried out by ARCHiNOS in 2015 – 2016 with European Union funding, the building now acts as a neighbourhood cultural hub operated by the Sultan Foundation with support from the Drosos Foundation and hosts various events for the local community and for a broad general audience.

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