THE singular beauty of this scene cannot fail to strike the observer; the form and enrichment of the dome, and the elegance of the minaret of the principal mosque, that of the Sultan Kaïtbey,  the square masses of such parts of the structure as are not yet in ruins, combine with the other mosques and the citadel in the back-ground to complete a composition of objects almost without rival for the picturesque effect which, in this point of view, they produce.

The cemeteries in the neighbourhood of Cairo are of great extent, and here, occupying the same burial-ground, in a temple, or a grave, repose the ashes of the most powerful Bey or Caliph and his meanest slave; and however the cost and magnificence of the tomb, the mosque, and the minaret, may, for a few years, have kept the names known and the deeds mentioned of their founders, many of those in the cemeteries of Cairo are already forgotten, and the decay of the tombs themselves will ere long mingle the dust of the dead without distinction. All the mosques seem falling to decay, and no new ones arise to fill the void of grandeur; no descendant protects the tomb from desecration; the extinction of some families, and the poverty of others, leave the ruins to be inhabited by the poor people who find shelter among them, or the spoiler who removes the stones to construct elsewhere his hovel.

Robert's Journal