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Castle of Saladin

Castle of Saladin Cairo

The castle of Saladin or the Citadel of Saladin is a very famous tourist attraction in Cairo. It is located on a high hill, which gives a fantastic view of the Old City of Cairo. King Saladin built the citadel in 1170 AD. After defeating Fatimid Caliphate, Saladin set out to build a wall that would unite the two cities - Cairo and Fustat and the citadel was supposed to be the centerpiece of the wall. The main idea was to build this fortress to protect the Old City of Cairo. The castle consists of enclosure walls, watchtowers and gates. The gates were built at different times in the history and at every 120 m, one would find a gate. The citadel is positioned in such a manner that it is difficult to attack it.

During the rule of Mamluke in 14th century, the citadel lay neglected while being used as the residence of the Sultan. It is during this era that many more buildings like mosques, etc were added inside the castle. The Turks further installed reinforcements during the Ottoman times. During this era, the castle was used as a residence for the Turkish Viceroy. Later, it was used as a training centre for the Egyptian Army. It remained the centre of the Egyptian government until the 19th century.

Once you are there visiting the castle, you will see a well - The Well of Joseph. This well was built to supply water to the citadel. This well is also known as the Well of the Spiral because its entrance consists of 300 stairs that wound the inside of the well. Once the water was raised till a certain level, it travelled to the citadel through various aqueducts.

The citadel also consists of two mosques, which hold much attraction for the tourists - Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad and Mosque of Suleyman Pasha. The Mosque of al-Nasir was built in the 14th century while Mosque of Suleyman Pasha was built in the 16th century. The citadel is also home to Al-Gawhara Palace, the National Military Museum and the Police Museum.

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