HANDS ON Traditional Crafts at The City of the Dead in Cairo

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Mausoleum of Khedive Tawfiq (Qubbat Affendina) (no number), A.D.1894 / 1311 A.H.

The royal mausoleum called Qubbat Afandina, (Tomb of Our Master) is the resting place of Khedive Tewfiq (1852-1892) and other members of the royal family descended from Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha. It includes the tomb of Pembe Khadin, who was wife of Ahmed Tusun Pasha (1793-1816) and mother of the Pasha of Egypt ‘Abbas Hilmi I (1813-1854). Her grand marble cenotaph is in opulent Ottoman Baroque style. The mausoleum, built in 1894, was designed by the khedival royal court architect Dimitrius Fabricius Pasha (1847-1907). It was commissioned by Khedive Tawfiq’s widow Princess Emine, and his son, the young khedive ‘Abbas Hilmi (who were both eventually also buried here.) Many of the decorations adorning the mausoleum were produced by the arts and crafts school established by the princess. The building followed the contemporary European “beaux art” principles of design, but used decorative motifs taken from mediaeval Islamic architecture, especially from the neighbouring Mamluk-period tombs. In the time of rising Egyptian nationalism, with which the young khedive sympathised, such Neo-Mamluk architecture was seen as a strong expression of Egyptian national identity.