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The Citadel

The Citadel is the natural focus of a visit to Islamic Cairo. It represents the most dramatic feature of Cairo’s skyline: a centuries-old bastion crowned by the needle-like minarets of the Great Mosque of Mohamed Ali, This fortified complex was begun by Salah El- Din, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Slah El-Din reign (1171-93) saw much fortification of the city, though it was his nephew, Al-Kamil , who developed the Citadel as a royal residence, later to be replaced by the palaces of Sultan Al Nasir.
The main features of the Citadel as it is today, however , are associated with Mohammd Ali, a worthy successor to the Mamlukes and Turks. In 1811 he feasted 470 leading Mamluks in the Citadel palace, bade them farewell with honours, then had them ambushed in the sloping lane behind the Bab al-Azab, the locked gate opposite to the Akhur Mosque. Nowadays the main entrance to the Citadel is at a higher level, closer to the centre of the complex. There is superb view of the entire city from the Citadel’s terrace

Mohammed Ali’s Mosque

Designed by the Greek architect Yussuf Bushnaq, The Mohammad Ali (Alabaster) Mosque in the Citadel was begun in 1830 (finished in 1857) in the Ottoman style by Mohammad Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt, and founder of the Country's last dynasty of Khedives and Kings.
The mosque is the Tomb of Mohammad Ali and is also known as the alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of this fine material from Beni Suef. It's two slender 270 foot minarets are unusual for Cairo. From the arcaded courtyard, visitors have a magnificent view across the city to the Pyramids in Giza. Just off the courtyard is the vast prayer hall with an Ottoman style dome which is 170 feet above. The parapet to the southwest offers a good view of the Sultan Hassan and Ibn Tulun Mosques and of Cairo itself. Perhaps because of it's location, it is one of the most frequented Mosques by tourists.


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