Citadel of Qaitbay Is Where You Live As A Soldier & Sultan
Since the 14th century, the Alexandria Sea touches the strongest citadel on the Mediterranean coast, which the Mamluks took as an impregnable fortress, protecting them from Turkish attacks. From any point of Alexandria, you will see a small sandcastle, but when you go closer, you will find an impressive fortress citadel, which is the Citadel of Qaitbay.
In an area of 17550 square meters on the ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pharos lighthouse, this great Fort – Citadel of Qaitbay was set.
Enjoy the atmosphere of the sea while seeing this great historical building that the water of the sea surrounding from three sides, and live the events that led the Sultan Mamluks to build the Citadel of Qaitbay.
Qaitbay Citadel History – From/ A Slave To A Sultan Built The Greatest Citadel
Sultan Qaytbay visited the city of Alexandria in the year 1477 A.D. He went to the ancient site of the lighthouse and ordered to build on its old foundation a tower known later as Citadel or Tabiya Qaitbay, and the construction was completed two years after the date of construction.
Actually, the cause of building this Egyptian castle was a large number of external threats to Egypt, so it was built as a military fortress. Especially, the direction of the Ottoman Empire conquests began to change from Europe to the East.
So Sultan Qaytbay tried to fortify the Egyptian fronts and began building many castles, and the Citadel of Qaitbay had come as the largest one.
But who was Sultan Qaytbay? His story started with 50 dinars. He was born in 1421 in the land of Qabbajak, which is one of the provinces of the Volga River in Russia now, and it was one of the most important markets for slaves who were sold and then be slaves to the Abbasid state.
When he reached the age of thirteen years, a merchant named Mahmoud Ibn Rostam bought him and brought him to Egypt in 1435, and the Sultan of Egypt at that time [Ashraf Persbay] bought him from Rostam for fifty dinars and became owned and sent him to learn and train with the rest of the Mamluks and after the death of Ashraf Persbay, Zahir Jaqmaq arrived, and Qaytbay had been promoted.
Then during the reign of Sultan al-Zahir Tamerbugha, he was released after he reached the position of army commander. The Mamluks attacked Sultan al-Zahir Tamerbugha and deposed him from the Sultanate, and the noble King Abu al-Nasr Seif al-Din Qaytbay al-Mahmoudi al-Zahiri took over that was fifty-five years old at the time, and built this strong citadel in Alexandria.
Actually, the Citadel of Qaitbay is the most historic building that will revive this amazing historical story in front of you that still has a lot of details that wait for you in the far west of Alexandria. But when you visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, do not ignore to be surprised with the oldest mosque in Alexandria, which was built inside the Citadel.
Walk Through the Citadel of Qaitbay To Get To Know The More About The Citadel of Qaitbay Facts
How were the soldiers eating! Where were they praying? Where exactly was the Sultan sitting? How were they facing any external attack coming from the sea the day before its arrival? Just Walkthrough the citadel to know more secrets.
Your tour will begin with the main tower in the inner courtyard, which takes the form of a large square castle with a side length of 30 meters and a height of 17 meters.
Then you will find three floors, and in the four corners of the tower, there are semicircular towers that end at the top with prominent balconies that include openings for shooting arrows on two levels. Go close to them to see what the soldiers had seen while throwing their arrows, living as a soldier with an arrow in your hand.
Complete your tour to the castle mosque on the first floor, and enjoy seeing a remarkable courtyard with Four iwans and defensive corridors allow the soldiers to pass easily during the defense operations of the castle.
The mosque had a minaret, but it collapsed recently. In that place, you will live how the soldiers moved from prayer to the defense of the country very quickly. It will be more amazing if you jog like them.
Quitby Citadel from Top
Go upstairs to the second floor, where you see corridors, halls, and internal rooms. Then go up to the third floor where you spend time like Sultan Qaitbay to see the ships on a day’s march from Alexandria. This third floor is covered by a cross cellar. There you can look at the oven that was used for preparing wheat bread, as well as a mill to grind grain for the soldiers residing in the castle.
You will be amazed by the group of walls that were built to increase the fortification of the castle, and these walls are two large walls of huge stones that surround the castle from the outside and the inside.
Quitbay Fortress Sections
The first wall is the outer wall and surrounds the castle on the four sides. The eastern side of this wall overlooks the sea and is two meters in width and eight meters in height, and it is not interspersed with any towers.
The western side is a huge wall whose thickness is greater than the rest of the castle walls interspersed with three round towers, and this wall is older remaining parts.
The southern side, it overlooks the eastern port and is interspersed with three round towers with a door in the middle, while the northern side overlooks the sea directly and is divided into two parts.
The lower part of it is a large roofed corridor built directly over the rock with several rooms; while the upper part is a corridor with narrow openings, it overlooks the sea. As for the internal walls, they were made of stone and surround the main tower on all sides except for the northern side.
This fence intersects from the inside a group of adjacent rooms prepared as barracks for soldiers and is devoid of any openings except for door openings and hatch openings designated as openings for ventilation on one side and openings for defense on the other hand. You will live an amazing adventure there.
Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri renewed the castle and increased its garrison. This castle was neglected during the Ottoman occupation of Egypt.
Some Info You Need To Know About The Citadel of Qaitbay
- The Entrance Fee for Citadel of Qaitbay is 60 M / 70 N L.E.
- The open hours for Citadel of Qaitbay from 8m; to 5 p.m.