Alexandria “the pearl of the Mediterranean” is home to many important attractions. One of Alexandria’s attractions is the Citadel of Qaitbay. The Citadel of Qaitbay was a very important fortress of Egypt and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Citadel is in the east of the port of Alexandria where the Island of Faro was. The Citadel was built on the very site of Alexandria’s famous lighthouse which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world before its destruction by another earthquake in the 14th century.
The History of the Citadel of Qaitbay
The Mamluk Sultan “Al-Ashraf Saif Al-Din Qaitbay” imported for art and architecture so he renovated many buildings, more than 70 buildings, such as madrasas, mosques, agencies, public fountains, and the citadels of Alexandria and Rosetta (the city of Rashid) to protect northern Egypt from the Ottomans.
The Citadel of Qaitbay was built by Qaitbay in 1477 in the 15th century. In the Mamluk Empire, it was considered a defensive fortress of the Ottomans. After the conquest of the Ottomans, the Citadel was also used for protection and defense.
After the weakening of the military of the Ottomans and the French expedition in Egypt, the Citadel lost its military importance. In the 19th century, Muhammad Ali (the ruler and founder of modern Egypt), restored the Citadel and Muhammad Ali’s successors also imported from the Citadel until the Orabi revolt in 1882.
In July 1882, the city of Alexandria suffered much damage from the British fleet bombing, especially the area of the Citadel. The Citadel was abandoned until 1904 when King Faruq I renovated the Citadel to be the residence of the royal rest.
In 1952 it was converted into a maritime museum by the naval troops. In 1984 the Supreme Council of Antiquities made plans for the largest restoration of the Citadel.
The Construction of the Citadel of Qaitbay
The construction of the Citadel took 2 years and occupies 17550 m2. The architect of the fortress is Qagmas Al-Eshagy. It was said that one hundred thousand dinars were spent on its construction. The Citadel is surrounded by the sea on three sides.
The main building, square with 4 circular towers, contains three floors. The enormous wall that surrounds it, an interior wall, and the main tower were built by the ruins of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. You can enjoy walking through its yellow corridors that give you the impression of being in a labyrinth.
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To discover more about the city of Alexandria and other cities that reflect the great Egyptian civilization, check out our Egypt travel packages or Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan and choose the trip you prefer.