As the seat of the caliphate, Cairo took the lead in Islamic teaching and intellectual endeavour. Its religious institutions, al-Azhar University and the Sultan Hassan Complex foremost among them, received generous waqf
s from the sultans and senior officials, to support both Sunni religious studies and the sciences, particularly medicine. Thus, the exemplary Bimaristan
(hospital) of Sultan Qalawun in Cairo, built in 683 / 1284, provided teaching facilities for a diversity of subjects such as surgery and ophthalmology, in addition to the provision of 100 beds for the sick, a comprehensive library and a pharmacy.