The Citadel of Salah al-Din, designed by Salah Eldin El Ayouby in the late 12th century to defend the city from possible foreign attacks, is one of the most famous monuments of Islamic Cairo and one of the most luxurious war castles built in the Middle Ages.
Salah El-Din El Ayouby, a prominent leader and the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, founded The Citadel Of Saladin, the iconic image of Islamic Cairo, at the end of the 12th century. When traveling to Egypt, the citadel is an essential part of all Cairo Day Tours, especially the Islamic Cairo tour. It is also one of the must-see attractions in Cairo, which you will have the opportunity to see when booking one of our Cairo Stopover Tours.
Saladin started to build the Citadel but he died before finishing it off, so his son Ibrahim Pasha accomplished his work, and he was the first one who ruled Egypt from the citadel.
It has beheld enormous historical events throughout Egyptian history and was for many centuries the seat of the king and his government in Egypt. The Ayyubids, the Mamluks, and some Ottomans had a turn ruling over Egypt from the citadel.
Salah El-Din Al-Ayoubi Castle is considered one of the most luxurious military castles constructed in the Middle Ages, and it is considered one of the most important landmarks of Islamic Cairo, located in the "Castle" neighborhood, on one of the hills separated from Mount Mokattam, on the outskirts of Cairo, the unique location that made it a barrier. Consistently high between the cities of Cairo and Fustat, so it was possible to communicate between the castle and the city in the event of any siege.
Saladin decided that Cairo should have a fortified citadel to guard the city against unexpected future foreign attacks, Especially during the threat of the crusaders, who were carrying military campaigns towards the Middle East during this time. He found many revelations in the Lebanese and Syrian citadels due to how fortified and protective they were, recognizing the importance of having a massive citadel to protect Cairo, he sent all his resources to create the military structure.
Muhammed Ali mosque:
When Muhammed Ali came to power, he was determined to remove all traces of the influence of the Mamluks, who controlled Egypt for six consecutive centuries and demolished their palaces within the fortress. Muhammed Ali also built one of Cairo’s most famous landmarks.
The astounding Mosque of Mohamed Ali or the Alabaster Mosque was built in the memory of a deceased son, towers over the rest of the complex. furthermore to this huge mosque, the Citadel as well includes, full of uniforms and weapons from Egypt's long history, the National Military Museum, Police Museum, and several more museums allowed to the palace of Muhammed Ali.
The castle has four gates, the old door was known as the door of Mokattam, because it is adjacent to the Mokattam tower, which dates back to the Ottoman era, and this door was also known as the door of the mountain to supervise the door of Mokattam mountain. From the periods, it was a rectangular opening in a very thick wall towards the south of the Mokattam tower, and on this door was a memorial plaque bearing the foundational text in the Turkish language in the name Yakon Pasha and the date of construction of the door and the palace dates back to 1785 AD.
In 1827, Muhammad Ali Pasha began building the new door to be used in place of the inserted door, which was the main door of the castle, and was created by Nasser Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi in 1183. Wheels, instead he built a new door and paved a sloping path for it to make it easier to get to and descend from the castle. This road is known today as the New Gate Street or the quarry railway.
As for the middle section, a mention came in one of the books of the French orientalist, "Paul Casanova" in 1894, in which he said that this section would be called "The Wastani", because he mediates the two major religions with the Royal Monsters, the Qaitbay, and Diwan al-Ghuri, and some researchers mentioned that he was known as the Wastani It separates the vestibule of the public naval citadel from the courtyards in which the Al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun Mosque is located, and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha.
One of the important military installations that completed the role of the citadel in the Middle Ages, the wall that Salah Al-Din built around Cairo to defend against any external aggression, is the wall that was recently discovered. After Salah al-Din (1171 - 1193 AD) ruled Egypt, he cared for the construction of the area Outside Fatimid Cairo between Bab Zuweila and the Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, it was divided into several lines, including the Red Path, which is still known by this name to this day. This area is topped by the Mosque of Al-Saleh Tala'i ibn Razik, which is considered the last vestige of the Fatimid era in Egypt.
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