Bab El Nassr

Bab El Nassr; In 1074, Al-Gamali was the governor of Acre when Al-Mustansir, the Fatimid caliph, summoned him to put down a revolt of Turkish military commanders and their troops. Al-first Gamali’s priority after summarily murdering the rebels was to reinforce Al-( Qahira’s Cairo’s) defences and reconstruct Gawhar’s brick wall, which had fallen. He did it using stone, which marked the start of Cairo’s newly developed passion for stone. However, it should be noted that much of the stone he utilized came from the Giza necropolis, implying that many of the pharaonic monuments in the Cairo area were also destroyed.

With its sun-dried brick walls constructed by Gawhar; Cairo was not much of a walled city prior to about 1087, though this vulnerability had shown itself on occasion.

Badr ad-Din el-Gamali hired three Christian Syrian monks (one named John the Monk) from Edessa to construct the Fatimid wall’s three main stone entrances, which served as fortification. Bab el-Futuh (Gate of Conquest), Bab El Nassr (Gate of Victory), and Bab Zuwaila are three huge gates that mark the old city’s southern and northern limits.

Current condition

The current Bab Al-Nasr replaced the old Bab Al-Nasr, which was built by Gawhar a short distance to the south. Badr dubbed it Bab Al-Izz (Gate of Glory), but the people’s tradition won out, and the name was never changed.

Bab El Nassr is the only one of ancient Cairo’s three principal gates with two rectangular towers. Bab el-Futuh and Bab Zuwaila both have rounded towers. Up to the second level, the Bab al-Nasr towers are solid stone. This is the tower with the least amount of decoration out of the three. The name of Badr al-Gamali and the year are written on the inscription above the gate, which says; “Islam is defended, strongholds and walls are built, by the power of Allha, the great and strong.


The entrance vestibule is cross domed, and the upper level of the towers is covered by a pair of shallow domes on spherical pendentives. The pattern is the reverse at Bab el-Futuh, with a shallow dome in the entry vestibule and a crossed vault with a sculpted medallion at the intersection in each tower. An engraving slab in Kufic contains the shahada with the Shi’a reference to ‘Ali above the entrance arch.

In reality; this gate, like the others, has architectural and iconographic qualities that have never been seen before in Muslim Egypt. At Bab El Nassr; for example, spherical-triangle pendentives are used to carry the dome over the room that holds the upper part of each tower, and there are interpenetrating; rising tunnel vaults in the staircase leading to the gate’s platform, as well as the small staircase coming down from the same platform to the rampart walk.


The defenders were able to deliver flanking fire against attackers attempting to scale the wall between the towers because to the projecting towers. Guard rooms, living quarters, and supply points made each portion of the wall a fortress in and of itself, allowing the defenders to move from tower to tower under total cover.

The shields and swords that Creswell characterises as Byzantine in shape are a prominent component of the décor at Bab al-Nasr. Some have downward pointing arrows, while others have round arrows. They are undoubtedly indicative of the protection provided by the walls against intruders. Like Bab el-Futuh, “Gate of Conquest,” the moniker “Gate of Victory” should be regarded as talismanic.

Surprisingly, these magnificent walls, which were originally constructed to protect Cairo from the Seljuk Turks, were never breached by attackers. Indeed; by the late Middle Ages; they had become so encroached upon by other structures that travelers frequently claimed Cairo lacked any fortification at all.


During the reign of Caliph al-Amir, his vizier, al-Ma’mum al-Bata’ihi; who constructed the al-Aqmar mosque, moved the observatory from Muqattam hill to Bab al-Nasr, which was initially built by al-Hakim.

The massive metal observatory’s movement was a complex undertaking necessitated scaffolding and wheels, as well as a big crew of employees and an architectural structure to support it; However, before the observatory could be used, Al-Ma’mun fell into disgrace, and the enraged Caliph ordered it to be dismounted because it was titled al-rasad al-ma’muni; which credited it to the vizier rather than the Caliph.

To defend themselves from the hostile Cairo population, Bonaparte’s army used Bab al-Nasr. It was known for its wild and violent attitude in the Husayniyya area; where it was located at the time. that has not been easy to conquer; but after a Husayniyya resident killed a French officer of Polish ancestry, Schulkowky; the French troops blasted the Husayniyya from these walls and completely destroyed the district. It was no longer a problem after that.

The names of French officers are still etched near the upper level of the gates. The top crenellations were filled up, and the arrow slits for canon holes were expanded. Napoleon’s troops nicknamed the eastern and western towers of the northern wall Tour Corbin and Tour Julien, respectively; after two of his aides-de-camp. These names, of course, were taken by the French.

The machicoulis at Bab al-Nas;, a projecting structure used to spew burning liquids on assailants, is also attributed to the French, according to Creswell. The walls were not made visible again until the twentieth century; when they were freed of numerous barriers, including more modern buildings.