However, many Fatimid officials and elites chose to be buried in the Qarafa. , Under the long reign of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad (1293-1341), Cairo's prosperity led to increased use of the Qarafa necropolis and to its revitalization, with the "Smaller Qarafa" of Ayyubid times (around the Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i) now re-merging with the "Greater Qarafa". The cemetery continued to be used well into the, To the west of this cemetery, a gallery of tombs for the sacred bulls of Apis, and known today by its Greek name Serapeum, Â was constructed from the, The north cemetery consists mainly of late 5th Dynasty tombs, with the tombs of two of Unas' queens.  The intensified urbanization of Cairo itself, and the exclusion of the poorest from government initiatives, resulted in a more urgent need for informal or improvised housing.  Even of those living among the actual tombs, at least half of them in the 1980s (when the tomb-dwelling population appears to have peaked) were workers, along with their families, whose livelihoods were directly linked to the tombs themselves, such as morticians, gravediggers, masons, and private tomb guardians. In the motion picture “the city of the dead” could only be located on specific times.  Caliph al-Amir (reigned 1100-1130) also reportedly resided in the palace. The areas around the unfinished pyramid of Sekhemkhet and the so-called Great Enclosure have not yet been fully explored. A … The news was announced by Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities on Thursday amid ongoing excavations at Tuna el-Gebel—an archaeological site approximately 270 kilometers (167 miles) south of Cairo, nicknamed the City of the Dead. , Despite this, the necropolises received renewed attention in the 19th century and onward.  A commonly cited estimate puts the current population at half a million or more people, and some put it even as high as two million.  This population grew and shrank according to circumstances in different eras. , In the later 14th century Cairo's population declined significantly due to the arrival of the plague. The uniquely shaped tomb of Shepseskaf is paralleled only by the tomb of Queen Khentkaus I at Giza, approximately dated to the same period. Thebes lay on either side of the Nile River at approximately 26° N latitude. The penultimate and last royal funerary monuments that were built at Saqqara are the pyramid complex of Pepi II, at some distance to theÂ northwestÂ of Shepseskafâs tomb; and the small pyramid of Ibi, to the Northeast. On a clear day, its most prominent monument, Netjerikhetâs Step Pyramid, can be seen from Giza, which lies some 17 kilometres to the North, and from Dashur, about 10 kilometres to the South. Bestselling author Warren Adler's (The War of the Roses) historical thriller Mother Nile is set in the City of the Dead during the reign of King Farouk of Egypt. , While the "City of the Dead" is a designation frequently used in English, the Arabic name is "al-Qarafa" (Arabic: القرافة, romanized: al-Qarafa).  Just as elsewhere in Cairo, this involved the construction of unofficial housing without government approval in areas where people could find space to build - or where they were able to demolish or incorporate older structures. It started with the early city of Fustat (founded in 642 CE) and arguably reached its apogee, in terms of prestige and monumentality, during the Mamluk era (13th-15th centuries). In this early period, monumental mausoleums were quite rare, graves were unadorned, and only the most important tombs might have had some distinguishing structure at all, as early Islam discouraged ostentatious tombs. It is also known as the Mamluk Desert Cemetery (Arabic: صحراء المماليك, Saharet Al Mamalik, "Desert of the Mamluks"). , The southern tip of the Northern Cemetery zone is also referred to as the Bab al-Wazir Cemetery, named after the former Bab al-Wazir city gate nearby.  One hundred and ten pashas held the office during this period and many ended their terms in jail or under house arrest. Starting in 1348, a number of Mamluk amirs built mausoleums and religious foundations in this area, forming another small necropolis still visible today, though it did not blend with the rest of the Northern Cemetery until later. , During the second half of the 20th century, rapid urbanization and the modernization of industries in and around Cairo lead to a massive migration that the city was ill-equipped to handle.  Official attitudes have varied from modest measures to improve living conditions to bold proposals to forcibly move the inhabitants, but no overarching plan has been put into effect so far.  In turn, the Mamluks began to build their mausoleums here, also looking for more space. , The phenomenon of "tomb-dwellers" (people squatting in tombs because of displacement or lack of housing in the city) probably peaked in the 1980s, when they are estimated to have been around 6,000 in number. The City of the Dead consists of a long belt of cemeteries and mausoleums stretching for roughly 4 miles along the eastern edge of the historic city.  Because of their short terms and other challenges in governing, the pashas were financially and politically weakened. It is a vast area of tombs stretching from the foot of the Cairo Citadel in the north to the densely-inhabited modern district of al-Basatin to the south. The site began as a sparsely-occupied desert area outside Cairo's city walls through which the pilgrimage route to Mecca passed. Its origins date back to the foundation of Fustat, the first Muslim city and capital of Egypt, established in 642 CE. The southern-most royal monument at Saqqara was built by Shepseskaf, the last king of the 4th Dynasty. Editor's Blog.  Importantly, that area also became the site of many important tombs belonging to a number of the Prophet's descendants who emigrated to Egypt in this period, some of which, like those of Sayyida Ruqayya, Sayyida Nafisa and Sayyida Aisha, are still present today.  A number of other Fatimid-era mausoleums survive today in the area between the Mosques of Ibn Tulun and of Sayyida Nafisa, such as the Mausoleum of Sayyida Ruqayya. The French, citing hygiene reasons, banned all burials inside the city, and cemeteries within the city walls were eventually destroyed and the remains of their occupants moved, leaving only the Qarafa (which was outside the city walls) as Cairo's major burial ground. She has also written and illustrated children's books including The Prince who knew his Fate, The Ancient Egyptian Activity Book and The Lion and the Mouse . Ancient Egyptian ‘city of the dead’ discovery reveals ‘elite’ mummies, jars filled with organs and mystery snake cult. These were especially important to the Shi'i version of Islam of which the Fatimids were adherents.  The most important of the constructions in the Qarafa appears to have been a monumental palace complex called "al-Andalus", built in 977 by Durzan (or Taghrid), the mother of Caliph al-'Aziz. In the immense historical necropolis of Cairo, the fences fail to hide the rubble of the destroyed mausoleums of the City of the Dead, a UNESCO world heritage site, to build the controversial road to Ferdaus, the “paradise”.  It lies close to the Citadel walls, adjoining the district of al-Darb al-Ahmar, and is cut off from the rest of the cemeteries by the modern Salah Salem road. Thebes, ancient Egyptian Wase or Wo’se or (from c. 21st century bce) Nowe or Nuwe, one of the famed cities of antiquity, the capital of the ancient Egyptian empire at its heyday. In 1907, the neighbourhood of Imam al-Shafi'i was connected to the rest of Cairo by a streetcar line which stretched from here to the Pyramids in Giza (though it no longer exists today). 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