Reasons Why Cairo Citadel is Worth the Trip
What if you could experience the best of Cairo in one place? What if you could gaze at the amazing skyline of the city from a vantage point that has seen the rise and fall of empires? What if you could walk through the halls and courtyards of a fortress that has been home to sultans, kings, and presidents? This is not a scenario, but a real opportunity that you can enjoy at the Cairo Citadel.
In this article, Trips In Egypt Team will explore many reasons why a trip to Cairo Citadel is a worthwhile adventure, we will show you also the breathtaking views it offers of the city below which are sure to amaze you.
Who is Saladin?
Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub is a famous Muslim hero from Tikrit, Iraq, and was a Sultan who was born in 1137. Salah al-Din was a key figure in resisting the Crusaders in the 12th century, and his most famous victory was in 1187 when he routed the Crusader forces in the Battle of Hattin and reclaimed Jerusalem from the Crusader forces. Before that, he had also ousted the Fatimids from Egypt in 1174 and became the master of the region.
As the Sultan of Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, and, Syria, Saladin built a large empire that covered these lands, and he aimed to unify the Islamic world and reinstate Sunni dominance in Egypt. The Sultan passed away in Damascus, Syria, on 4th March 1193, and he had a great legacy of diplomatic acumen, military excellence, and dedication to the Islamic cause that is still honored and respected to this day and age.
The History of Saladin Citadel
The Ayyubid ruler had a strategic vision in the 12th century which is reflected in the history of the Cairo Citadel. The Sultan faced the Crusader threats that endangered two nearby cities which are Ancient Cairo and Ayyubid, so, he came up with a clever plan to protect both cities with a single defensive shield.
Al-Nasir Salah al-Din started to build a huge defensive wall in 1176, so, this massive project not only aimed to secure the two cities but also to merge them into one powerful entity. He started building the wall from the Nile River’s banks that surrounded both Ancient Cairo and Ayyubid city before going back to the edge of the Nile River. This project was characterized by the building of strong fortifications and towers.
Salah al-Din finished the wall in 1183 after seven years of hard work, this was the beginning of the Cairo Citadel which symbolized strength and strategic importance. The location of Cairo Citadel is on top of the Mokattam Hill which gave it a great view of the city.
Cairo Citadel had an important role in protecting the city and keeping its cultural legacy throughout its history. The Citadel was changed over time, with different rulers adding mosques, buildings, and palaces inside its walls. Today, the Cairo Citadel is not only a witness to rich history but also a UNESCO World Heritage site with its amazing past and architectural beauty.
Reasons Why Cairo Citadel is Worth the Trip
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is one of the three mosques that you can see the dome and minarets of the mosque are great as they are over 80 meters and 50 meters high. The Mosque of Sulayman Pasha and Al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque are also worth visiting as they are very impressive.
1. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Start your tour at the amazing Mosque of Muhammad Ali which is a splendid example of Ottoman-style architecture. This mosque or "The Alabaster Mosque" has walls decorated with alabaster and a large white courtyard that gives a feeling of openness. This mosque rises high within the citadel and becomes one of the greatest landmarks which beautifies the eastern horizon and looks especially magical when lit up at night.
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali was built between 1830 and 1848 by Mohammad Ali Pasha, This mosque was a sign of new freedom from Ottoman rule. The structure of the mosque is clear in its two soaring minarets, each one reaches a height of 82 meters. To create space for his mosque, he destroyed several Mamluk palaces and buildings.
In the courtyard, you will see a Turkish baroque fountain for washing before prayers with an octagonal shape that is covered by a domed roof. This fountain has painted landscape scenes inside the dome. Finally, you should not miss the complex clock that France gave in 1845 when King Louis Philippe traded it for the obelisk that stands at Paris’s Place de la Concorde.
2. Al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque
Across the courtyard, you can see the Al-Nasir Muhammad mosque that has been there for 200 years before the Ottomans came. The mosque may not look very amazing from the outside, unlike many other mosques in Cairo, but when you enter it, you are entering history. This mosque was where the rulers of Cairo used to pray every Friday in the 14th century, and some of the stones that made it came from the Giza pyramids. The mosque is the only thing left from the Mamluk era at the citadel that Muhammad Ali did not destroy.
The builder of this beautiful mosque was Al-Nasir Muhammad, who was in power for a long time in his three times as ruler. Al-Nasir Muhammad built many other important things, which made Egypt stronger politically. The ruler did not look like a normal ruler, as he had a bad foot, and had problems with his eyes, however, the Egyptian people his people loved him.
This mosque was one of the most amazing in Cairo until the 16th century. Sadly, the dome above where people prayed fell, and Sultan Selim I took some of the marble pieces to Constantinople when he took over the area. The dome is held up by pillars made of granite from old Egyptian temples, and you can see some things that look like Ancient Egyptian and Roman architecture. You can also see some things that came from the Mongols of Persia, like the green tiles and the special dome that looks like garlic on one of the towers.
3. Mosque of Suleiman Pasha
Suleiman Pasha Mosque is a magnificent masterpiece of Islamic history and architecture in Egypt. The mosque of Suleiman Pasha was constructed during the Ottoman era in the 16th century and it has Ottoman and Mameluke architecture’s style. There is also a nice fountain for ablution that is circled by gorgeous arches and amazing columns in the main courtyard of the mosque and the dome in the center of the mosque is a wonderful element that is decorated with geometric designs and beautiful mihrabs that amaze worshippers and tourists.
The mosque is located in the Cairo Citadel which means that it has a beautiful view of the city where the history and spirituality meet. Suleiman Pasha Mosque is still a place of prayer, but it also welcomes tourists who want to enjoy its wonderful architecture and witness its historical value. The beauty of the mosque and its historical significance make it an amazing site for anyone who is interested in Islamic history in Egypt.
4. The Military Museum
The Military Museum is located in the old Cairo Citadel and it has an amazing range of historical artifacts as well as educational charts that show the history of the Egyptian army and its strength. Visitors are taken on a tour through the magnificent age of the museum as well as their current achievements.
The collection of the museum is not limited to weaponry as it also explores the techniques utilized by Egyptian warriors throughout history. The Museum also shows tanks that were taken from the Israeli army during the October 1973 war which provides a concrete link to an important event in the military history of Egypt. The Military Museum also has a great collection of artifacts including eight ancient cannons and different statues.
These statues honor ancient and great Egyptian kings such as Saladin Al-Ayouby, Al-Zaher Beybars, Khedive Ismail, and Mohamed Ali. The museum also combines the history and present military of Egypt by providing an educational experience that allows visitors to learn about the armed forces of Egypt and the might that defends such a wonderful country. The Military Museum will give you a fascinating experience of the military history of Egypt.
5. The Museum of Royal Carriages
The Museum of Royal Carriage is a fabulous place that is located inside the Citadel and it has over seventy royal chariots dating back to the rule of Khedive Ismail. These chariots have historical significance since several of them were handed to the Egyptian king during that period and were also used to receive visiting kings, although they appear modest by modern standards they were at the time, but it was the perfect style of elegance and luxury in its age.
The chariot in the museum offers a unique narrative of a great period when such magnificent vehicles represented pride. Visitors who come to the Museum of Royal Carriages not only witness the amazing skills of these royal vehicles but also learn more about the royal past of Egypt and its role in receiving visitors from all over the world. This Museum of Royal Carriage is a must-see attraction for those who are interested in history as it provides a wonderful view into the past of Egyptian royalty and their style of transportation that once reigned the roads with royal elegance.
6. The Police National Museum
One of the most amazing features of the Museum is its collection of photographs and historical artifacts that show the lives of criminals such as the infamous sisters Raya and Sekina who were embroiled in a dramatic epic of crime and mystery, these exhibits allow visitors to experience a distinct side of Egypt's criminal history.
You will be amazed when you walk through the museum as you will come across a unique hall that shows beautiful antiques and paintings honoring the bravery of Ismailia soldiers and Egyptian police who opposed British occupation. These amazing works of art and history represent the courage and tenacity of the people who battled for the freedom of their country. The Police National Museum in Cairo Citadel will take you on a journey through time as well as the incredible stories that have affected the country.
7. Citadel Prison Museum
Once you exit the Police Museum, the Citadel Prison Museum will be waiting for you to enjoy another historical tour. This museum of prison has many cells that once had prominent criminals from many historical eras. You will feel transported back in time as you see lifelike mannequins dressed as captives from old eras.
You can learn about the many cells that had prisoners under different regimes, as each cell tells a separate tale about the challenges and conditions that the captives faced. The Prison Museum is a must-see for history lovers and those interested in the past of Cairo City. This tour inside the Prison Museum will provide you with a unique opportunity to journey back in time and learn more about the history of Cairo.
8. The Citadel Fortress
You will learn in this interesting tour about the incredible history of Cairo Citadel as you travel through time. Saladin constructed the beautiful fortress with the original walls composed of stones from the pyramids of Giza. The sight of its four gates and thirteen towers will astound you, as will the amazing views of the Citadel and the Muhammad Ali Mosque which is near Sultan Hassan Mosque.
You will learn about the horrific tragedy of the Citadel Massacre which took place at Bab al-Azab entryway. You will visit Azhar Park and have a fantastic supper at Studio Misr where you can enjoy our traditional Egyptian food while watching the Citadel and the Muhammad Ali Mosque light up at night.
9. The Wonderful Architecture
Cairo Citadel is a wonderful example of the glorious past and architectural mastery of Egypt. The citadel was built in the 12th century by Salah al-Din to protect the city from possible attacks, and it became later the center of power for many rulers. The architecture of the citadel shows the amazing influence of the Mamluk period with great minarets and domes that show the architectural brilliance of that time.
The impressive Mosque is a showpiece of the Citadel complex as its unique architectural wonder has Ottoman-style architecture with alabaster-covered walls and a beautiful central dome that amazes visitors. The exceptional skills and majesty of the mosque provide a feeling of beauty and peace to the historical significance of the citadel.
Cairo Citadel not only provides a taste of history but also provides breathtaking views of the beautiful capital from this vantage as visitors can see iconic monuments such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile River which are must-see attractions for those who wish to enjoy the beauty of Cairo.
10. Water Features
Cairo Citadel is a beautiful example of medieval Islamic architecture with intriguing water components. You will see an amazing courtyard with a fountain when you enter the Citadel in the center which provides a nice environment, this courtyard leads to the historic Muhammad Ali Mosque. The architectural treasures of the Citadel such as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali and the Al-Nasir Muhammad Qala'un Mosque embellished with magnificent fountains in their courtyards.
These fountains serve a nice purpose as well as showing the sophisticated beauty of Islamic design. There is a system of water cisterns and tunnels hidden beneath the surface and it demonstrates the excellent engineering abilities of the time that were employed for the supply of water during sieges.
Fountains and decorative water components from the Mamluk era could be seen throughout the Citadel. Visitors can see the wonderful panoramic views of the Nile River while touring and it adds to the beauty of this historic place. These aquatic elements make it an attractive destination for travelers who are interested in Egyptian culture.
Cairo Odyssey: Cultural Day Tours
If you love traveling and exploring such great attractions, you should not miss our majestic Cairo day tours to visit the Cairo Citadel. You will be amazed by the beauty and history of this place which shows Egyptian history over many centuries. You will enjoy visiting the mosques and witnessing the details of the buildings, and the breathtaking views of Cairo from the top of the Citadel. Contact our operation department now to arrange an unforgettable experience at Cairo Citadel.
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What Should I Wear While Being in Egypt?
You should wear whatever you want. It is advised to wear something light from cotton or linen, comfortable and put on sunblock during your time in Egypt in the summer and wear comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the sandy terrain.
What to Pack for Your Egypt Tour?
You should bring a brimmed hat and sunglasses if you not used to the Egyptian sun &pack everything you could ever need and put in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.
Are All Nile Cruises Available at Any Time?
Yes, it is available all years. as the Nile from Aswan to Luxor takes three to four days of sailing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the total cost of 600$ and the Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan take four to five days in Saturday, Monday and Thursday for the coast of 650$.
Why book Trips in Egypt?
We have experience in vacation planning for more than 10 years & our staff consists of the most professional operators, guides and drivers who dedicate all of their time & effort create the perfect vacation. All of our tours are customized by Travel, Financial & Time advisors to fit your every possible need during your time in egypt. we always keep in mind that your safety & comfort are our main priority until you return home.
Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to travel to egypt, You will feel secure in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is very peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt and construct an entire environment dedicated for ensuring the lives of all tourists.
What are Egypt's Visa Requirements?
They are very simples, If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries(check the link), have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD entry fee in cash. As for the E-Visa for 30 days, you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could be one of the countries eligible for a free visa for 90 days.
What is the Weather is Like?
The temperature of Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c, Summer in Egypt is somehow hot and winter is cool and mild but sometimes it becomes cold at night. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 23 ¡ÆC in the summertime and average high temperatures vary from 17 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 32 ¡ÆC in the summertime while the temperature is moderate all along the coasts.
What is the Best Time of Visit Egypt?
It is known the best time to travel to Egypt is in the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a bit tropical, a warm atmosphere with a winter breeze. You will also be notified a week before your trip if the weather is unsafe or if any changes have been made.
Should I Give Tips in Egypt?
It is totally up to you, but if you choose to you can tip the servers at your restaurant 5-10% by handing it to them directly and 5 Egyptian Pounds as a general tip of anyone.
Can I Enter the Pyramids?
Yes, you can enter the pyramids for the small fee of 20$.
How to Enjoy Egypt During Ramadan?
Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims that should be celebrated by non-Muslims and feel the essence of the Islamic culture. You can fast with the Muslim or just observe but you are always welcome to join the celebrations and festivals.