Citadel of Saladin

Saladin Citadel in Cairo 400
Citadel of Saladin Cairo, Egypt
Photo by: Francisco Artunes, Creative Commons

Imagine a breathtaking overview of the ancient city of Cairo with a well-preserved Egyptian background. The Citadel of Saladin (aka Citadel of Cairo), will bring you an exhilarating memory of the regal residence and military camp of 11th century Egypt.

Charging it to its location, the citadel is a perfect tourist spot. It is placed on top of a hill to see all the angles of the cities of Cairo and Fustat. The Ayyubid lieutenant of Egyptian ruler Saladin erected the place on its present location to see incoming enemies and attack them even before they reach Cairo. The place has several thick walls, watchtowers, and gates which makes the cities difficult to attack.

After almost a millennium, the Citadel of Saladin is now bigger thanks to six major reconstructions. It now includes Muhammad Ali Pasha (aka Mosque of Mohamed Ali) built circa 1828 – 1848. The mosque was built in memory of Muhammad Ali’s son, Tusun Pasha and also to signify eradication of the memories of the area of the Mamluk dynasty’s rule.

The latest reconstruction effort was under the influence of Muhammad Ali. During his reign, Muhammad Ali Pasha mosque and other buildings carried Ottoman architecture and large domes to further establish his leadership.

The second mosque, Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala’un Mosque, is filled with high marble dado and has granite columns. The free-standing 63 by 57 rectangle mosque is the main prayer room of Cairo sultans in the 13th century. The 3rd mosque is the Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, built in the 16th century and is the first building carrying the Ottoman architecture.

Another notable structure in the Citadel is the Qasr al-Gawhara (Al Gawhara Palace) which holds various painting artifacts. It is a National Museum of both Military and Police departments of Cairo, Egypt.

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