Wekalet Bazarʿa is located in al-Tumbakshiyya street in al-Gamaliyyah neighborhood of Historic Cairo.
It is situated between two other monuments: to the east the Madrasa of Gamal al-Din Yusuf al-Ustadar (built in 1408) and the Wekala of Abbas Agha (built in 1694), of which only the first section of the arched stone entrance survives. The term wekala (pl: wekalat) is the Egyptian equivalent to other Arab countries.
It is a commercial building with different functions and activities. It was used as a place to display merchandise and to conduct business deals, and to distribute the goods to the local markets. A offered accommodation in its upper floors to out-of-town traders.
Commercial trade flourished during Mamluk times, which resulted in the need for expansion. Hence, many Wekalat were constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, the most famous being the Qansuh al-Ghuri (built in 1504). During the Ottoman rule, the number of
same Mamluk plan and style. The Wekalet Bazarʿa was built in the 17
Wekalat were named after their founders, or the activity taking place. Bazar Kihiya, named after Hasan Katkhuda Abu Shanab, who was also known by Kihiya. It was dedicated at the
time to the trade of timber. A Yemeni, Bazarʿa, who came to Egypt in the 19and switched its activity to the sale of Nablus soap and the Yemeni coffee.
The wekala is composed of a central courtyard surrounded by a corridor that reaches storages on the groundfloor. On the upper floors, rooms are used for accommodation. In addition, there is a space for the commercial caravans.
The wekala has two entrances. The main one leads to the courtyard, while the secondary entrance gives access to the residential units upstairs and is separated from the courtyard to ensure privacy. The residentialunits are divided between two levels connected by a staircase. At the lower level, there is a reception, a
kitchen and a toilet, while upstairs the bedrooms that were used by merchants and their families.
The structural condition of the wekala was greatly affected by the earthquake in 1992: water infiltration dueto bad usage and the disintegration and decay of the mortar with time. The Supreme Council of Antiquities
decided then to take the necessary measures to consolidate the structure to avoid danger and to prepare studies for a complete conservation project. In 2001, the represents one unique example of Ottoman Architecture in Cairo.
Lately, the Historic Cairo Project propose a research project to further conserve the building. Assessments were made to define the needed maintenance and to propose a reuse for the ensure that the wekala is preserved in the best form.