The City of the Dead (Al-Arafa) comprises two 4 mile (6 km) long cemeteries - a north and south cemetery - dating from Mamluk times (1200s - 1500s) and is still in use today. Traditionally all families kept a mausoleum and these days some families use them for living in as well as for burials. Some families have been inhabiting the tombs for generations, some arrived more recently after the 1967 war displaced them from the canal zone. The north cemetery has more people residing in it and estimates are up to half a million people live there. These days there are shops, cafes and even a post-office within the cemeteries.
Many of the tombs themselves are quite grand and beautiful dating back centuries and in the Mamluk style. The northern cemetery is home to some of Cairo's most beautiful Mamluk monuments, such as the Mausoleums of Sultan Qaitbay and Sultan Barquq.