Feel the Cool Breeze Sweep Over You at the Cairo Citadel
Egypt's Citadel is one of the most popular medieval sites in Cairo encompassing three mosques, a military museum and a beautiful park. These ornate history-laden complexes harbor is a simpler pleasure though, an outcrop above Cairo perfect for catching a cool breeze. In 810 A.D. the governor had a pavilion constructed so people could sit back, relax, and enjoy the grand views of Cairo while basking in the refreshing breeze. Muqattam Hill was a great place to relax and enjoy the day long before the Cairo Citadel was built, and is so once again following the movement of the seat of government to its new home, the Abdin Palace, in the 1860's.
The Cairo Citadel has changed significantly over the years as various leaders have left their own mark on the complex. The most prominent and well known of these changes was the addition of the grand Mohamed Ali Mosque, which has dominated the Cairo skyline with its piercing minarets since its completion in 1848. Beside the Mohamed Ali Mosque is the Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad, and although not as large, it offers greater eloquence. The beautiful masonry and ornate craftsmanship displayed here is the quintessential Ottoman style used in many Islamic monuments, and have captivated countless people over the years. The only original parts of the once mighty fortress that remain from initial construction are parts of the walls and a well that once supplied the Saladin Citadel with water. Unfortunately the area around the 285 foot (87 meters) deep Bir Yusuf Well is not open for tourists to investigate.
Defense of the Cairo Citadel is no longer a concern as it was in Saladin’s day. Instead today, the three mosques built in its boundaries serve as active homes of prayer; the large military museum remembers a long history of the armies that have ruled over Egypt; and a park, not far from the small Suleyman Pasha Mosque, is a great place to relax and let a cool breeze sweep over you. After a day exploring Egypt's Citadel and all it encompasses in its mighty walls, it’s easy to see why the non-Pharaonic structure is so popular, with tourists and locals alike, as a fantastic spot to relax and enjoy the wind washing over you.
When to Go to Cairo Citadel
Odds n' Ends
Also, the nearby Khan el-Khalili bazaar is a great nearby spot to stop and pick up some snacks if you plan to have a picnic within the Citadel's walls. It's also worth a visit though once you're done at the Citadel. It's winding alleys make for an interesting adventure as you shop, haggle for bargains, sip tea and explore the ancient maze of shops at night.
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