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Restoration Begins on Unique Mamluk Fountain

Emir Shayku's Sabil is the only fountain carved into the hillside near the Citadel of Cairo, and the Supreme Council of Antiquities is giving it a glow-up.

Restoration work has begun on Emir Shayku's Sabil, a historical landmark that's unique for being the only fountain carved into the hillside by the Citadel of Cairo. The Supreme Council of Antiquities started by cleaning up the facade, inscriptions and decorations, and installing a protective iron fence around it.


Quick history lesson: Shayku was a mamluk slave soldier who became an emir under Sultan al-Muzaffar Hajji. Hajji had a successor, an-Nasir Hasan, who decided to assert his dominance by imprisoning Shayku and other emirs in Alexandria. When Hasan was kicked out and replaced by Sultan as-Salih Salih, Shaku returned to Cairo and commissioned this lovely sabil that we're fussing about now in 1354, around which people gathered to learn about the Qur'an.


Afterwards there were some wild Game of Thrones plot twists where Shayku helped depose as-Salih Salih, put Hasan back in power, and became the first person to hold the title 'emir kabir'. He built the Mosque and Khanqah of Shayku, then got ganged up on and killed at a military council meeting a couple years later. Bloody stuff. Bloody, bloody stuff. But at least we got a nice fountain out of it.