The Citadel Of Saladin
About The Citadel Of Saladin
Having being the exclusive preserve of Egyptian rulers for about 700 years, the Citadel is a monumental site located in the eastern corner of the city atop a limestone spur. The impact of its being a royal residence for so long can be seen with the collection of mosques and museums as well as many palaces. These buildings have verandas from which the city can be viewed and they are accessible to the public for a fee. The area is a little strenuous to approach, but the stress might be worth the interesting sights that are available for viewing.
The Citadel’s construction commenced in 1176 by Saladin as a defensive stronghold to protect the city from Crusaders marauding through the Palestine area. The Mamluks overthrew the Ayyubid dynasty to which Saladin belonged, and they expanded the Citadel complex with the addition of Harems and magnificent palaces.
The Ottomans also took over from the Mamluks in 1517 and further strengthened and increased the Citadel, adding the Bab al-Azab, a new main gate, although they left the Mamluk palaces to crumble in disrepair. Napoleon Bonaparte’s philosophers were impressed with the buildings they found at the Citadel, calling them Cairo’s most beautiful Islamic monuments, after French troops routed the Ottomans in 1798.
Despite these compliments, Mohammed Ali, the ruler who succeeded the French overhauled the buildings at the citadel introducing mosques designed that were Turkish in design instead. These are more prominent all over Cairo even till date. The Citadel was converted to a Military outpost after Ismail, Mohammed Ali’s grandson relocated his palace to Abdeen. The citadel was used as barracks for British soldiers during World War II. Also, there is still some Egyptian military presence at the Citadel even though most of it has been converted to tourist usage.
Updated On March 24, 2020