Salah El-Din Citadel History
The history of the Salah El Din Citadel is quite vast. So, do you have any idea about who founded Salah El-Din Citadel? The fortress was constructed in 1176 AD by an order from the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty Ruler, Salah El Din, and completed in 1182 AD during the reign of Al Malek El Kamel. Saladin Citadel was built mainly to become a powerful fortress against foreign invaders like the Crusaders, and the French invasion led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.
The majority of the citadel's structure was made out of limestone curved from the surrounding hills of Muqattam. It's noteworthy to say that Qaraqush Salah El-Din chief eunuch, also carved it from a number of small pyramids of Giza and Abusir for a more generous number of materials. The Saladin Citadel was remodeled, rebuilt, and enlarged countless times through the ages. It looks very different from the original architectural design as most of the noticeable changes came in the 19th century by Mohammed Ali and his dynasty.
Salah El-Din Citadel Location
The supreme Saladin Citadel is located on the hill of Mokattam near the center of Cairo, “The City of Thousands of Minarets”. It’s located on the highest point of a cliff. It’s as if the sultan built the Citadel with the image of a sharp eagle in mind and pure determination to drop enemies on their knees in his heart.
So, it’s not surprising when you see the Citadel looks like an eagle keeping its eye on the whole country. Its unique construction gave it a strategic advantage which enables it to offer a magical view of the city. Saladin Citadel marks a moment in history in which the name of Egypt soared high in the sky.
Salah El-Din Citadel’s Outstanding Design
The frame of Cairo Citadel has been through multiple reformations since it was first erected to cover the needs of all the rulers and purposes. However, the general structure of the Citadel is split into two archeological aspects which are among the crucial information about Salah El-Din Citadel. The first is the enclosure towards the North, and the other is the enclosure towards the South. The Northern Enclosure was announced as the headquarters for military garrisons, while the Southern Enclosure was the decided accommodation of the Sultan.
Also, there’s a Western Enclosure that was considered the residence of the royal Mamluks. The Citadel’s West and Southwest is an open space that was numerously pointed at as the Maidan or the hippodrome among historians. Situated at the end of the hippodrome towards the North is a plaza that goes by Rumayla Square or Citadel Square. The plaza was dealt with as a horse trade market as well as a decided space for religious rituals.
Salah El-Din Citadel Three Gates
Another symbol of Salah El-Din Citadel’s limitless power is its three magnificent gates. The first gate is the Mokattam Gate. It was structured over the Ottoman Empire in 1785 and was shaped from the rocks left near Mokattam Hill’s watching tower. You also offered the Iron Gate as the second gate to stress the Citadel’s grandeur. The Iron Gate is the most important and hugest out of the three. It’s safe to say that the Iron Gate is a great leap in Salah El-Din Citadel’s history. The gate was established in 1822 by Mohammed Ali.
A pavement was established by Mohamed Ali to link between the gate and what is called Iron Street, or Bab Al Hadeed. The Iron Gate includes a number of two fronts or façades. Finally, you have the Middle Gate which underwent a renovation process in 1826 by Mohamed Ali and nestles the space between the Iron and Mokattam Gates.
Reasons Behind Building Salah El-Din Citadel
You’ll notice that every line, whether you skimmed it or indulged in its details, leads to a newly-found reason behind the prominence of Salah El-Din Citadel. As it seemed like Salah El-Din built his Citadel with a powerful mindset to leave no crack without fulfillment during his reign. That’s why you’ll find Salah El-Din Citadel had many roles to cover. One role was the Citadel once served as a center of political life and the ruling ground of the government for 700 years for various dynasties. It was home to the Ayyubids, the Mamluks, and the Ottoman Empire.Later, Khedive Ismail moved the headquarters of the government to the newly constructed Abdin Palace in Downtown Cairo during the 1870s.
Another role the citadel was erected for is the need for a decisive weapon against the Crusaders to use with no intention of cowering away. Which is a selected powerful fact among the other facts about Salah El-Din Citadel. It has the towering height to block his opponents’ eyes from roaming his domain and having a peek at plans he poured his brainpower into. Needless to mention the three gates of the Citadel which left no chance for the French to bathe in victory.
Salah El-Din Citadel Hosts Different Sites Inside It
Many constructions were created in Saladin Citadel. There’s a hall of justice, a national military museum full of an arsenal from Egypt's diverse history, a police museum, entrance routes, four places, and a huge terrace. It also has numerous gates & mosques like Al-Nasir Muhammed Mosque built in 1318 to hold some of the most enchanting Ottoman decorations.
Mohammed Ali attempted to erase any trace of the Mamluks who controlled Egypt for six centuries and challenge the Ottoman Empire. So, he ordered the construction of the majestic Alabaster Mosque in 1830, which was completed in 1857 as a true example of Ottoman Architecture. So that’s why the essence of the Citadel is not only attached to the Citadel on its own but also is attached to other gracious valuable constructions located in its complex. It all made Salah El-Din Citadel loom over Egypt with great significance and archeological contents that left a remarkable print in history.
Cairo Citadel Polishes the Sultan’s Role as a Ruler
Salah El-Din era was among the eras in history that were full of thriving and hard work. However, the sultan’s efforts got paid off and numerous accomplishments were sealed. From hitting new scales of expansion and power in Cairo to taking over Iraq, Aleppo, and Damascus, the 12 years of Salah El-Din’s reign were the best for the Muslim nation ever! Hence the sultan, alongside his Citadel, managed to put a more unique spark to his reign and accomplishments.
The Citadel’s design was built with so much intelligence and was just a fraction of what the sultana had yet in store to offer back then. It was not the Citadel per se that coward the French and the Crusaders away, it was the fear of the developing and powerful mentality of the sultan who built a fortress with such immense importance and unmatched essence. Which made the enemies stand zero chance against his stubbornness and found no other option but to surrender.
Saladin Citadel Importance in Egypt Tourism
Your visit to Salah El-Din Citadel will help you to warp your head around the multiple values Cairo City has introduced since the start. You’ll be offered the defense value that Egypt’s rulers tried to covey during their reigns and are presented in the citadel building and the National Military Museum of Egypt located inside the complex as well.
You’ll also have a taste of the religious value in both mosques of Mohamed Ali Mosque and Al-Nasir where lots of travelers sought overwhelming peace. Needless to say, the conception of Cairo’s ornament will be just a blur in your head without a visit to the Jewelry Museum. Every value hosted by a fortress, mosque, or museum you’ll cross paths with during your tour was created with unique decorations of different roots and formed by multiple various epic stories. So, don’t you think that Salah El-Din Citadel has a lot to do with tourism in Egypt??
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