Simply Travels | My Travel Blog


Friday, January 1, 2010

Citadel of Salahaldin | Cairo Egypt Day 6

The first visit of the day was to the Citadel of Salahaldin in Cairo. We had to go through Cairo's usual day-time traffic on the highway to get there!

Cairo Highway Traffic

The Citadel began its life not as a great military base of operations, but as the "Dome of the Wind," a pavilion created in 810 by Hatim Ibn Hartama, who was then governor. These early governors, not realizing its strategic importance, simply used the pavilion for the view it provided of Cairo.

It was was fortified by the Ayyubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) between 1176 and 1183 AD, to protect it from the Crusaders.

The citadel contains the Mosque of Mohamed Ali (or Muhammad Ali Pasha), which was built between 1828 and 1848, perched on the summit of the citadel. This Ottoman mosque was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali's oldest son, who died in 1816. However, it also represents Muhammad Ali's efforts to erase symbols of the Mamluk dynasty that he replaced. When Ottoman ruler Muhammad Ali Pasha took control from the Mamluks in 1805 he altered many of the additions to the Citadel that reflected Cairo's previous leaders. One obvious change that Muhammad Ali enacted pertained to the uses of the Citadel's northern and southern enclosures. During the Mamluk period the southern enclosure was the residential area, but Muhammad Ali claimed the northern enclosure as the royal residence when he took power. He then opened the southern enclosure to the public and effectively established his position as the new leader.

Citadel of Salah al-din Pictures

Mosque of Mohamed Ali Cairo, Egypt Pictures

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