Salah El Din Citadel in Cairo
The Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi
Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi Citadel, or the mountain citadel. It is one of the historical Islamic monuments known for its architectural accuracy in the era of the Ayyubid state. This era was known for prosperity and progress in all fields. The citadel is one of the Islamic tourist attractions in Cairo. This citadel is also called the mountain castle because it was built on a hill connected to the Mokattam mountain. The citadel was built to protect Cairo from attacks by the Crusaders and the Fatimids, also to be the home of the Sultan.
The site of Salah El-Din Citadel
Salah El-Din citadel is located in the region that named after it, which is the Citadel district, the castle on a separate site of the Mokattam Mountain on the outskirts of Cairo. During driving your car or to be on the bus on the road of Salah Salem you will see this castle. In the past Salah al-Din citadel overlooked at the Fatimid city of Cairo from the north and overlooking the city of Fustat from the southwestern side, behind it there is Mokattam mountain. This site is an important strategic location that enabled the army to defend the city of Cairo and the city of Fustat, and its location is a high barrier between the city of Cairo and Fustat and the castle site was providing communication between the city of Cairo and the city of Fustat and it would have been the main site where the forces were stationed in case the city fell into the hands of the enemy.
The idea of creating the Citadel of Salah El-Din
When Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi ended the Fatimid rule over Egypt, he wanted to protect Cairo from the enemies that came from outside the country, as well as protect Cairo from the inside against any internal betrayal, especially after he transferred Egypt from a Shiite state to a Sunni state, therefore Prince Baha Al-Din Qaraqosh supervised the construction of the castle and built the wall of Cairo in which the stones of a group of the Pharaonic pyramids were used that were on the way to the wall.
It is strange that Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi left Cairo before the construction of the castle was completed and went to the Levant and could not return to Cairo and he died. Salah El-Din was buried in Damascus. After six years of hard work, the citadel had been completed.
Salah El-Din Citadel is a place to rule
The Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi witnessed many events. Kings were crowned in the Citadel of Salah al-Din, and the Sultans were killed in this castle. This castle was a place for rule in the Ayyubid and Mamluk state and was a place for the rule of Egypt during the rule of the Ottoman state, but during the reign of Khedive Tawfiq, the Khedive moved to Abdeen Palace and left the castle.
During the presence of the French campaign in Egypt, Napoleon destroyed parts of the Citadel of Saladin and restored some buildings to protect himself and his army. The French left some maps showing the features of the castle.
During the British occupation of Egypt, the Citadel of Salah al-Din was the headquarters of the leadership of the British occupation, then King Farouk received it and gave it to the Egyptian army.
The Salah El-Din Citadel is an integrated place that contains important mosques, schools and Institutions in the past. This castle has a distinctive design that dazzles tourists. At night, you can see Salah El-Din Castle from a great distance because the lights decorate it.
Salah El-Din Castle was a first-class strategic place to protect the country from any external or internal aggression.
The charming design of Salah-Din Citadel
The Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi was not just a military fortress in order to protect Egypt from the enemies, but it was a place that includes many buildings. Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi built a school in order to teach the fundamentals of religion. The kings of Egypt built a group of mosques and palaces in the castle.
This castle was divided into two parts, the northern section was A military fortress and it used to include tall towers, while but the southern section contains a palace of the government that the ruler of Egypt stayed in.
Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi built a large wall around Cairo in order to protect it, and a few years ago this wall was hidden among random buildings and then it was discovered and restored.
The walls of the citadel
The Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi is distinguished by its very high walls, and on these walls, there are many high towers that were used for Observation, as well as shooting at the enemies, and the castle is divided into two squares separated by two walls, one of them north and the other south.
The Citadel gates
The castle has two doors. The first is the greatest gate facing Cairo. The second door facing Al-Muktam mountain, and there was a third door called the Secret Gate. This door was canceled and a group of other gates were made.
The massacre of the castle
It was one of the most important events that occurred in the Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi. This massacre happened in 1811.Mohamed Ali invited Mamluks to a party for saying good bye for the army which was going to fight in the Levant and after finishing eating in the castle, Muhammad Ali asked the Mamluks to walk with him towards the castle gate in order to bid farewell to the army and on the way Muhammad Ali ordered to close the castle gates and ordered the soldiers to shoot at the Mamelukes and more than 500 Mamluks were killed.
Harem palaces in the citadel
Muhammad Ali built three palaces separated from each other, but shared in the ground floor known as the palaces of the harem, but these palaces were the orphanage of the family of Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman governor, as well as the sons of the Mamluk princes.
The Harem palaces have become the Egyptian Military Museum, which tells the military history from the Pharaonic era to the modern era.