Monuments and Heritage

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel .. The Impregnable Fortress and the Unique Architectural Building

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel belongs to the landmarks of ancient Cairo. Islamic Egypt was distinguished by the architectural buildings of the city of Cairo that was built by Jawhar Al-Sqeli.

Islamic Cairo plays a major role in attracting tourists due to the splendor of its ancient buildings and civilization.

You will definitely enjoy visiting the mosques and museums dating back to the Fatimid and the Ayyubid times.

Also, click here to read the article in Arabic.

The importance of the Citadel

As for Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel, it is considered one of the most important features of Islamic Cairo. It is also called, the Castle of the Mountain.

It is originally a military castle built on a hill of the Mukattam Mountain in the Ayyubid era by Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi.

It was the seat of government for more than 700 years since 1176 AD. The main purpose of its construction was to protect Cairo from the Crusades.

The Citadel

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel joins the UNESCO heritage

In 1976, UNESCO declared Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel a World Heritage Site, as it represents a significant era of Egypt’s history and ancient heritage.

In the mid-19th century, it was inhabited by the grandson of Muhammad Ali, Khedive Ismail, as he built his palace, Abdin, outside the Citadel.

The Citadel witnessed many historical events in Egypt starting with the Crusades until the end of Muhammad Ali’s rule. 

The Citadel includes many Islamic monuments, such as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, which is one of the most important buildings inside the Citadel, the Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad bin Qalawun and the Mosque of Solomon Pasha al-Khadim and Bir Youssef.

It also contains several museums such as the Police Museum, the Jawhara Palace Museum, the Military Museum and the Royal Vehicles Museum.

Description of the Citadel

Description of the Citadel

Historians unanimously agree on the success of Salah El-Din in choosing the site of the Citadel. In other words, it was constructed on a hill, which led to a general view of the city of Cairo facilitating protecting the city during wars. Besides, he built a wall around the Citadel to protect it from any attack.

The Citadel is divided into two different sectors. The first is located on the northern side and it was built during the reign of Salah Al-Din.

The southern sector of the Citadel is the seat of government.

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel wall comprises 13 towers to provide permanent protection for the residents.

It has four doors in the old door room, which is called Bab Al- Mokattam next to the Mokattam Tower. Now, it is called Salah Salem Gate. The entrance gate of the Citadel is located on the southern side of it.

The buildings the Citadel

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel includes several buildings dating back to the Arab and Islamic eras. The most important of which is a mosque built by Sultan Qalawun, in addition to a tower overlooking the lower part of the Citadel.

The Citadel bears many features of the Ayyubid era in its design, such as the walls, the mosque and the towers.

Contents of the Citadel

Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel contains important museums, including the Al-Jawhara Palace Museum.

It also includes a collection of royal cars in different historical periods, in addition to the Military Museum, which is the official museum of the Egyptian army that was established in 1937.

Muhammad Ali Mosque inside Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel

Inside the Citadel, you will find Muhammad Ali Mosque which is considered the most famous building of the citadel.

The Citadel also contains the “Al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun” mosque which was built by Al-Malik Al-Nasir. It has a unique architectural style with marble columns that hold the roof.

Thus, Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel is one of the most important landmarks of ancient Islamic Cairo. It’s the perfect destination for history lovers around the world.

Also, check Terhalk’s articles on The Karnak temple and Jeddah’s museum.

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