The mountain castle, or as commonly known, the Cairo citadel, is considered one of the greatest and mightiest fortresses during medieval times. Sprawling over Mokkatem hills on the city’s eastern edge, the Citadel, started by Saladin in 1176 as a fortification against the Crusaders. For 700 years the Citadel would be the home of Egypt’s rulers, with each leaving their mark on the Citadel.
Following their overthrow of the Fatimid dynasty, the Muslim Ruler Saladin faced many challenges. One of which was how to defend the two great cities of Egypt, Cairo, and Fustat. This is how the citadel was born, and these were Saladin’s words “And With a wall, I will make the two into a unique whole, so that one army may defend them both.”
Saladin managed to build one of the greatest and mightiest fortresses during medieval times. Its beauty and political importance were unsurpassed, Until the construction of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul nearly four centuries later. The story of the citadel isn’t just a story of buildings or walls. It’s the story of Cairo itself, as for the following seven centuries, The Citadel would influence Egypt and beyond. Towering over the city skyline, this mosque-like structure has more to tell than what meets the eye.