Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque

  • Directions
  • Who was Saladin?
  • History of the Saladin Citadel of Cairo
  • Inside the CItadel
  • Who was Mohamed Aly
  • History of the Mosque
Perched high upon a deep slope in Cairo is the renowned Citadel of Saladin with its huge towering minarets of the Muhammad Ali Mosque looking out across Old Islamic Cairo and beyond. Originally called Qalaʿat Salāḥ ad-Dīn in Arabic, this magnificent structure hosts medieval and 19th-Century history with Museums showing all ranges of Egyptian rule through these periods. 



Roughly 15 to 25 minutes from Downtown Cairo, the Citadel of Saladin is situated in the Mokattam Hills area which is the highest point in Cairo. 
Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque


Who was Saladin?


Salah El-Din Citadel that was built in Cairo is one of the most famous historical sites in Egypt, this citadel built by El-Nasir Salah El-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, known in the history books by the name of Salah El-Din who was a chivalrous knight. He was born in Iraq and was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. When he was 14 years old he started training for his military career, and when he grew up he led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states, and attained the biggest victory of his life by defeating them and conquering the holy city of Jerusalem making it an Islamic state, despite his power and that he conquered a lot of states, he was a very charitable and a religious leader and had once said: “I warn you against shedding blood, indulging in it and making a habit of it, for blood never sleeps”. His name is comprised of two Arabic words, Salah means righteousness, and Din means religion. His life was full of events and victories and historians think that he died in Syria at age 56 years, and was buried in Umayyad Mosque in Damascus City in Syria. 


Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque


History of the Saladin Citadel of Cairo


Sultan Salah El-Din built the citadel of Salah El-Din which is also known as the Citadel of the Mountain ( Qala’a Al-Jabal ) in Egypt to protect Cairo from potential Crusader attacks, It has a unique location, as it is located on the hills near the center of Cairo this location made it difficult for any enemy to attack, aside of it being a fortress against any violent attack. For) a long period in Egyptian history this Citadel was also the seat of government and the king, many dynasties including the Ayyubids, the Mamluks, and even some Ottomans had a turn in ruling over Egypt from the Citadel. Until once Khedive Ismail became the ruler of Egypt, he moved the seat of government from the Citadel to Abdeen Palace.

The construction of Salah El-Din Citadel begun in 1176 by order of the Sultan Salah El-Din, but Salah El-Din did not live in the Citadel because its construction was completed in 1182 during the ruling period of Al Malek El Kamel the ruler of Egypt who ruled after Salah El-Din. As Salah El-Din intended to build an impressive and huge citadel and fortress to protect him from his enemies he decided to make it’s building blocks from the stones of some small pyramids in Giza and in its construction he was inspired by the Syrian and Lebanese citadels because they were extremely fortified, due to that Its construction was very impressive and elegant. Inside the Citadel Salah El-Din had also constructed water wells to be used by his soldiers, the citadel has 4 gates ( El-Mokatam gate, the New Gate, the Middle Gate, and the Citadel gate ), and about 13 towers including ( El-Mokkatam tower, al-Karkialan tower, and Al-Turfa tower ), inside it there are also about 4 palaces amongst which are ( Palace Ablaq, Al-Gawhara Palace ), 4 Mosques ( Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque, Mosque of Sulayman Pasha, and Mosque of Al-‘Azab ) and 2 Museums, the National Police Museum, and National Military Museum ) both these museums are opened to) visitors, inside the National Police museum the visitor can see a lot of interesting objects like old police weapons, tools, and uniforms since this museum is a former prison. The visitor can see real cells where prisoners were kept in the past, and in the National military museum, the visitor can see historical cannons, tanks, and weapons, which have been used in remove real wars throughout history. 


Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque


Inside the Citadel

Inside Salah El-Din Citadel there is one of the most famous historical mosques in the world which is Mosque of Muhammad Ali, known also by the name of Alabaster Mosque. By order of Muhammad Ali Pasha the Ottoman caliph this mosque was built, its construction process took about 18 years, Muhammad Ali Pasha decided to build this mosque in the memory of his son Tusun Pasha who died in 1816.


Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque


Who was Mohamed Aly?

 Muhammad Ali was born in Greece but he is one from Egypt’s rulers that the history and the historians have told to us a lot about him. He ruled Egypt for 43 years from 1805 to 1848, he was a military commander who came to Egypt to recover it from the French occupation under Napoleon, and after Napoleon withdrawal, because the British forced him, Muhammad Ali became the ruler of Egypt and gained the rank of Pasha which was the highest official title of honor in the Ottoman Empire, during his reign over Egypt he made a lot of reforms and developments in a lot of fields like education, industry, agriculture, and economy, as a result of that he has been called the "father of modern Egypt". On 2nd August 1849, Muhammad Ali Pasha died in Ras Al-Tin Palace in Alexandria leaving behind him a history that is full of events and he buried inside his Mosque in Salah El-Din Citadel. 


Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque


History of the Mosque


Muhammad Ali mosque was opened in 1848, and it was built in a unique Ottoman architecture style, this mosque stands on the highest point inside Salah El-Din Citadel. The mosque from the inside consists of two sections: the first section is the eastern section which is called a house of prayer, and the second section is the western section which is called the courtyard, the construction of this mosque was inspired from the Turkish mosques because it was designed by the architect Yusuf Boshnak who was from Turkey, the main material which was used in this mosque construction is the limestone. The mosque has 2 minbars, and there are 6 medallions around the dome of the mosque, which include the names of Allah (God) and Mohamed (the Prophet), as well as the names of the four rightly guided Caliphs, namely Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali.

Saladin Citadel & Mohammad Aly Mosque
    Why Choose Us
    • Travel Experience Since 1955

      Memphis Tours is one of the pioneers which have great impact on travel industry for more than 55 years of experience.

    • Personalized Travel Services

      Whatever your travel dreams, together we can custom-design the perfect itinerary with highly personalized services just for you

    • We Speak Your Language

      A multilingual website offers content in 6 different languages English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German

    • Flexibility to Change

      We know how important it is for travellers to have the flexibility to change their itinerary due to some reasons or force majeure

    • Your Safety and Security

      A professional will accompany the guests to all of the places; they will never be left alone to fend for themselves

    • High Quality Service

      We do believe honestly that quality should come first and quantity would come later and our main objective focused on (Quality is our Top Priority)

    • Customer Service 24/7

      We offer Customer Support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone and email for questions about our tours and services

    • Support Sustainable Tourism

      We are attempting to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people

    • Secure Online Payment

      Our website is protected by the world′s most secure online payment system VeriSign Secure

    • Secure Website by MacAfee

      Memphis Tours website is a McAfee Secure site that helps keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud and spyware