Egypt: Wikala of Qawsun

Wikala of Qawsun

Staff Description

The Wikala of Qawsn, dating to 1341 AD (742 AH), was the first such structure built in Cairo. It was used by Palestinian soap and coffee merchants during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and was called "the Wikala of Soap." Nothing of the building, listed in 1901, survives today except for the square-headed doorway, which has a fine blazon on it (a cup, as Qawsun served as cup-bearer to Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad). This gate was saved and moved slightly north from its original emplacement, and raised to current ground level, when the rest of the building was demolished. The area behind the gate is now occupied by modern school buildings. It is now located just down Al-Gamaliyya Street from the Mosque of al-Hakim and the Wikala of Qaytbay.