Mosque of Qaitbey

Top choice mosque in Cairo

Sultan Qaitbey was as ruthless as any Mamluk sultan, but he was also something of an aesthete. His mosque, completed in 1474 as part of a much larger funerary complex, is widely agreed to mark the pinnacle of Islamic architecture in Cairo. The interior is one of the most pleasant places to sit and relax, but the true glory is the exterior of the dome, carved with the finest, most intricate floral designs anywhere in the Islamic world.

Qaitbey ruled for 28 years and was the last Mamluk leader with any real power in Egypt. He was a prolific builder, and with some 80 buildings in his name, he truly refined the Mamluk style. Behind the boldly striped facade, the interior has four iwans around a central court lit by large, lattice-screened windows. The interior is panelled in cool marble with a mesmerising decorative wood ceiling. The adjacent tomb chamber contains the cenotaphs of Qaitbey and his two sisters. The elegant and slender stone minaret, carved with a star pattern and an intricate floral arabesque, is one of the city's most beautiful. Climb up for the best view.