The citadel of Salah eldin known also as Citadel of the Mountain , is one of the most important landmarks of Cairo, and considered one of the most imposing military citadels to be built in the Middle Ages.
Regarded as one of the most elegant fortresses to be constructed in the
this citadel is featured with its strategic location overlooking the two neighbouring cities that were alive at the time; Fustat and Cairo.
Salah el din citadel was built on the top of Mokattem hill which was the natural site for defence of Cairo in the middle ages.
From what The citadel of Salah eldin has been built.
The citadel was built of limestone quarried from Mokattem hill as well as
some large blocks of stones from the small pyramid at Giza.
The outer buildings:
the citadel of saladin consist of 2 enclosures; the northern and southern enclosures.
The northern one was the military area with its large walls and its towers; The citadel is still surrounded by the original walls and towers.
The Founder of the citadel
Salah Al din, the famous king the army leader and the founder of the
He was sent to Egypt to rescue the Fatimid from the crusaders, after he defeated them,
he sized the power of the Fatimid ruler, he extended the capital city include Al Fustat and Cairo.
Afterwards he unified the 2 capital into a large one, and then he added
to the city fortifications and founded the citadel on the Mokattem hill to
serve both purposes protection function and to be a resident for the
Importance of the Citadel of salah ed-din
The importance of the citadel is due to its founder Saladin El Ayouby,
He built this citadel during the end of the 12th century, it has witnessed many important events in the Egyptian history.
The citadel was used as the seat and place of the ruler and his government in Egypt for many centuries and many dynasties including the Ayubids, the
Mamluks, and even some Ottomans ruled over Egypt from this Citadel.
Moreover, It had always played a significant role in the political life of Egypt in different stages of history to the extent that in some occasions a
king or ruler used to rule over Cairo while another Sultan had control of
also, the Citadel has defended Egypt against many
attacks in different periods of time.
Specially during the French invasion of Egypt in 1798, under the leadership of “Napoleon Bonaparte”, the citadel had an important role to play in
defending the city until the French soldiers took control of it.
Today, the Citadel of Saladin is considered to be one of the most
popular historical sites of Egypt as it is included in almost all the tours
designed for visiting modern Cairo the capital of Egypt.
Date of construction
The construction of salahuddin citadel has started in 1176 during the reign of Saladin himself.
However, it was completed later in 1182 during the reign of Al Malek
El Kamel, who ruled Egypt after Saladin and was the first king to live in the citadel.
This building was dated based on two epigraphic inscriptions bearing the
name of the builder and the date of construction.
The citadel of Salah eldin is located at the top of a high hill , the citadel is also featured with its special location that offers the tourists with magnificent views over different sections around Cairo.
salah el din decided to construct his citadel over the Mokatam Hill , the highest point of the city that time ,to overlook the whole city of Cairo and to be located at a very high position that is hard to be reached or attacked by enemies, Moreover, being situated at the centre of the two cities.
Reasons of Construction
When Saladin took control of Egypt, during the ruling time of the Fatimids who ruled Egypt from the 8th century till the 12th century,
he decided that Cairo should have a great citadel in order to protect all the city against any foreign attacks especially the threat of the crusaders and others that were carrying many military campaigns towards the Middle East at this time.
salah al-din was influenced with the forts and citadels he saw arround the world and how protective and fortified they were.
so he recognized the importance of having such a great and strong citadel to protect Cairo,
Salahuddin wanted to build this strong fort to protect the city of Cairo against all sorts of threats and enemies.
Maybe this was why it was said that he destructed some small pyramids in Giza and used their stones to build his citadel and its walls.
Many of the soldiers of the army of Saladin together with some
crusaders that were captured by Saladin have worked together in the construction of the walls
salah el din has also decided to dig a water well inside the citadel to be used by the soldiers in case the citadel goes under siege.
The Citadel of Saladin will always remain one of the most significant highlights of Cairo. in the heart of the modern city.
it is reachable by car , you will buy its ticket on spot then you can enjoy visiting the Mosque of Mohamed Ali, and other mosques, the Military and police Museum, viewing the marvellous architecture of the citadel itself ,taking wonderful pictures, and watching Cairo from the highest level of the city are among the most interesting activities to be done in the citadel during your tour in the Egyptian capital.