Cairo – The citadel and surroundings
Usually, sightseeing in Cairo and no trip starts from the Citadel, even a day one, does not miss this place. Under the hill, you must also see the Sultan Hassan mosque and the Rifai mosque.
It's best to spend half a day on the Citadel and both mosques. You can get here by taxi or bus, or come on foot, heading for Midan Salah ad-Din. The entrance opens from the parking lot at Bab al-Gabal, where tickets are sold and where is the electronic gate.
The entrance to the Saladin Citadel leads next to the defensive walls with huge towers: Burg al-Matar (Flight Platform Tower, where carrier pigeons were probably kept), Burg at-Turfa, Burg qurkiyan (Tower 40 Snakes) all the way to Bab al-Gabal (Mountain Gate; 1786). The first structure on the hill was the Dome of the Winds, pavilion built in 810 r. by the Governor of Hatim Ibn Hartam. The military value of this place was appreciated by Saladin (1171-1193), who ordered a citadel to be erected here from the stones of the pyramids against the crusaders. The walls did 30 m in height and 3 m thick. Towers from those times have survived to this day: Burg al-Haddad (Blacksmith's Tower) i Burg al-Raml (Sand Tower). Military troops have been stationed here since then, and then the Turkish Janissaries. Water (from the Nile) a 3.5-kilometer aqueduct with four pumping stations delivered to the citadel. Water from Yusuf's well was also available (Saladyna; 97 m deep).
After Saladin, his nephew al-Kamil continued the expansion, which made the military citadel into a sultan's residence. During the Mamluk era, the state management center was moved to the an-Nasir palaces. Mohammed Ali gave the final shape to the buildings, building (closed today) Bab al-Gadid (New Gate; 1826) and by erecting the Alabaster Mosque. Here in 1811 r. he made a feast for 470 the most important Mamluk Beys, which he then ordered to kill in an ambush at Bab al-Azab (1754), in the lower ones, the Ottoman walls of the citadel.
Many buildings have sprung up on the Citadel over the centuries: four mosques (three available), including the most famous mosque of Muhammad Ali, called Alabaster, Sultan an-Nasir mosque and Suleiman Pasha mosque.
Muhammad Ali Mosque, visible from almost anywhere in Cairo, up close it disappoints. It's too big, too turkish and carelessly made. The interior full of gilding and ornaments is an example of the declining Ottoman style, where glamor replaced quality. Chandeliers, lamps, złocone enskrypcje, gold on the mihrab and two minbars only appeal to people who like this style. On the right, the founder himself was buried under the white marble tomb with bronze gratings. The mosque was erected in the years 1824-1848, but it was actually completed during the successor of the founder, Output, w 1857 r. In front of the mosque there is a great view over Cairo, all the way to the Giza pyramids.
To the south of the temple, there are remains of Muhammad Ali's palace, el-Jauhara (al-Gawhara), where he waited for news of an ambush for the Mamluks. Portraits of the Kedives and kings of Egypt with their wives and court have been preserved here, furniture and interior design. The Egyptian government was gathering in the palace for a while, when he moved to Abdin Palace.
Sultan an-Nasir mosque, also known as the Ibn Qalawun Mosque (his father), built in the years 1318-1355, when relations with Persia were very good. The masters from Tebryz helped with the construction: one of them designed spiral minarets covered with onion-shaped helmets and faience decorations. The great dome of the mosque, covered with green tiles, resembles temples from Central Asia. It is the only well-preserved Mamluk structure on the Citadel. The ruins of Qasr al-Ablaq rise behind the mosque (The Striped Palace) sułtana an-Nasira.
In the north-eastern part of the hill there is the Suleiman Pasha mosque (1528) in the Ottoman style, with copper-clad domes and an Ottoman minaret.
This is the first mosque in Egypt erected for the Turkish occupation forces.
There are several museums within the Citadel, including the Police Museum hidden behind a pseudo-gothic gate, where Sadata was imprisoned in one of the cells, arrested by the British for military espionage (here also sat his killers). The exhibition is dedicated to famous criminal cases.
The passage at Bab al-Qullah leads to the northern part of the Citadel. American and Soviet tanks are standing here, sign, that nearby is located in the former harem of Muhammad Ali (1827) Army Museum (paid photos). Do 1874 r. it was the residence of the royal family. You enter the Carriage Museum through the gardens (by the way, you can see the 19th-century gate and part of the minaret of the Qaitbeja mosque 1441). Various carriages stand here, including gilded gifts from Napoleon III and Empress Eugenia. Next is the seat of the Take-over Museum, taken from smugglers (papirusy, icons, statuettes, manuskrypty i pistolety).
There are two mosques on the northwest side of the Citadel: sułtana Hassana (Hasana) i ar-Rifaiego.
The former is one of the finest examples of the early Mamluckiti architecture in Cairo. It was built by Sultan Hassan, son of the great Mamluk ruler an-Nasir Mohammed, my first name, who ruled Egypt twice: for the first time since 1347 r., dethroned by other Mamluks in favor of his younger brother, the second time since 1354 do 1361 r. The construction was financed, by seizing the estates of people who died during the plague epidemic (1348), but design flaws caused one of the minarets to collapse (1361), what died went through 300 people. It was a bad omen, so they waited for the fall of the ruler.
At the end 1361 r. he was murdered, and his mosque was being built for two more years.
The complex includes a temple, mausoleum and madrasah.
The three facades are divided by vertical niches with stalactite decorations, decorated with a medallion and motifs from the Far East (China). The fourth concerns commercial buildings (waqf), livelihoods for the mosque. It was planned, that the temple will have as many as four minarets; the one above the entrance portal collapsed in 1361 r., and the next (it was replaced with a more modest version) w 1659 r. The tallest minaret goes back 86 m. Stone from the veneer of the Giza pyramids was used in the construction. The inner courtyard with the ablution well is surrounded on four sides by ogival cast irons, serving as madrasas, Sunni law lecture halls. In the depths of the East Livan is a beautiful mihrab, and on the right – Brown, gold and silver inlaid door leading to the mausoleum with a magnificent dome, in which there is no sultan's body (his two sons were buried here). Medresa of the complex in 1517 r. was bombed by the Turks; it was rebuilt only in the Ottoman times.