THIS beautiful mosque is one of those which are fast going to decay among the tombs of the "Memlook kings of Egypt," as Wilkinson designates them, or the tombs of the Caliphs, as they are generally called. The Sultan Qaïtbey, or Kaïtbey, was one of the Circassian or Borgite dynasty, a line that reigned in Egypt from 1382 to the invasion of Sultan Selim in 1517. The tombs of this period have received the general appellation of El Qaeed Bai, or  Kaïtbey, from one of these princes who died and was buried there in 1496. It is very difficult to obtain any certain account of these mosques, and Wilkinson's statement, that a general name was given to the tombs of a dynasty that reigned nearly a century and a half, and yet was derived from the latest of its kings, is rather obscure. 

"Attached," he says, "to each of the tombs is a handsome mosque, schools, and dwelling-houses; and it is impossible to look upon these splendid monuments of Saracenic architecture without feeling deep regret at their neglected condition and approaching ruin." Many of the mosques of Cairo are larger than this of Kaïtbey, but no one possesses a higher degree of elegance, or is more elaborately or beautifully decorated and enriched; the arabesque scrolls of the dome, wrought in rich patters of tracery, - the minaret with its three successive balconies adorned with arches, columns, corbels, and balustrades, all of such fantasy and elegance as Saracenic buildings alone possess in the same degree, are very striking. The lofty portal, rising almost to the summits of the walls, with its triple curved arch- five times, at least, the height of the actual entrance- gives a lightness of character which contrasts with the broad, square mass of the great body of the building, above which ascend the dome and the minaret; and the relief which arises from banding the structure with alternate layers of white masonry is often obtained in Saracenic architecture with the happiest result, for it destroys the monotonous effect which the vast walls of these structures would otherwise produce.

Wilkinson's Modern Egypt