The Citadel of Qaitbay is situated in the Egyptian capital of Alexandria. This monument serves as both a historical marker and a stunning example of architectural beauty and architectural history.
Even though it seems to be a little sandcastle from a distance, the Citadel of Qaitbay is a massive stronghold that has become an essential symbol of the city of Alexandria throughout the years.
A visit to the Citadel of Qaitbay, which is included in virtually every tour of Alexandria, provides travelers with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. The Citadel of Qaitbay is also included in almost every tour of Alexandria.
The Citadel of Qaitbay is situated in a geographically advantageous position.
Because of its position near the western end of Alexandria, the citadel has long been considered a key site because it has protected the city from raids by the Crusaders and other groups since the 15th century.
For example, one of its distinctive features is that it was constructed using the remains of an old lighthouse, which was erected in the third century AD and was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Under an earthquake that struck Egypt in 1303, during the reign of the Mameluke Sultan Qalaun, the lighthouse was nearly destroyed.
The tour of the citadel of Qaitbay is highly recommended for all visitors to the city who are interested in history. Numerous Egypt excursions are available, including a half-day or full-day tour of Alexandria, which includes a stop to the Citadel at Qaitbay.
It may be reached by walking west on Corniche (or Costanera) Street. It may be found at the end of Corniche Street, near the pier.
The Citadel of Qaitbay has a long and illustrious history.
Having celebrated the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday with his people the previous month, Sultan Qaitbay traveled to Alexandria with a delegation of nobles, princes, and members of his royal family to pay homage to the Prophet Mohammed.
The whole city of Alexandria had been prepared for the Sultan and his entourage. Qaitbay investigated the location of the old lighthouse remains and then ordered his troops to construct a fortified castle in the same location.
Construction started in 1477 and was finished in 1479, with Qaitbay being the one who formally dedicated it to the world.
Regarding Sultan Qaitbay
Sultan Qaitbay was one of the most significant Mamluks of the Burji dynasty, who ruled Egypt for more than 150 years and was one of the most powerful rulers in the world.
Between 1468 and 1496, Al-Ashraf Qaitbay reigned for more than 25 years and was widely regarded as one of the most prominent architects and builders of the period.
Among the structures that have survived are the madrasa (school) and funerary temple in Cairo, as well as its mosque in Fayoum, among other places of historical significance.
At the time, no one could have dreamed that the Qaitbay Citadel would one day become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
The Citadel of Qaitbay was designed and described in great detail.
The square form of the Citadel of Qaitbay was a superb architectural choice for this structure. Its length and width are 150 meters and 130 meters, respectively. It is comprised of several towers, walls, and rooms.
We can tell the difference between interior and exterior walls by the distance between them. These shorter inside walls are made by the soldiers’ quarters and armories, which make up the majority of the interior space.
The citadel’s exterior walls are made up of four defensive walls that are designed to entirely defend it from any danger.
The eastern portion of the outer walls, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is two meters wide and eight meters high, is two meters wide and eight meters high.
The western portion of the walls is the widest section of the walls, and it is dominated by three sieve-shaped towers. This is the section of the citadel that is the oldest.
The fortress’s northern flank, which overlooks the East Port of Alexandria, is divided into two portions. The first section is the main entrance. The bottom part is a covered passageway with multiple chambers that were utilized for tactical operations during the city’s assaults on the fortification.
The top section is made up of a hallway with smaller apertures, which was used by troops to guard the citadel on the other side.
The internal walls, except the north side, were constructed entirely of solid rock and encircle the main tower nearly completely.
The Citadel’s main tower is often known as the Great Tower.
This complex’s main tower is the tallest and most striking building on the property. Its measurements are 30 meters high and 17 meters on each side, and it has a square form with square proportions.
Three levels of cylindrical towers are located at each of the four corners of the main structure, with some tiny windows strategically placed to allow archers to fire their arrows in the event of an assault.
The first floor of the Qitbay Citadel is where you’ll find yourself.
A mosque, constructed in the Mameluke architectural style of the period, can be seen on the first level of the fortress.
It consists of four small “iwans” or galleries, an open courtyard, a sahn in the middle, with its marble floor, and a beautifully decorated mihrab that, paradoxically, does not point towards Mecca because the architect who designed the citadel had the military’s use of it as a top priority when he designed the structure. This mosque formerly had a minaret, which was eventually demolished.
The second level of the Qitbay Citadel is where you’ll find yourself.
The second level of the citadel is comprised of several hallways, a huge number of tiny chambers and apartments, and a few big halls that were utilized for a variety of functions. In recognition of the fact that the Citadel of Qaitbay is one of the most significant complexes in Egypt, numerous monarchs and rulers have devoted considerable attention to it throughout history.
It was Sultan El Ghory, Egypt’s final Mamluk dynasty ruler and ruler of the Burji dynasty, who was among the first to undertake improvements to the citadel (1501-1516).
He repaired and refurbished certain areas, gave weapons and men, and repaired and restored other sections that required repair.
Throughout history, the Qitbay Citadel has played an essential role.
Under the Ottoman authority, the citadel was regarded as a highly significant bastion for protecting Egypt’s northern coastlines, and it served as such for centuries.
For the first time, troops were assigned ranks and divisions, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery being the three main divisions in the army.
When the French invaded Egypt in 1798, they seized possession of the citadel as a base from which to expand their authority over the country’s resources.
When Mohamed Ali became king of Egypt, he understood the significance of the fortress, which he had built throughout his reign as a construction worker. He rebuilt the fortifications and installed guns to protect Egypt’s most crucial location.
Following the Revolution of Ahmed Orabi, the city of Alexandria was subjected to bombardment by the British Navy, which resulted in some fractures in the walls that lasted for more than a quarter-century after the attack.
Several modifications were carried out by the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Monuments in 1904, based on the findings of research undertaken by French scientists and academics during the French colonization of Egypt.
Currently, the Citadel of Qaitbay is one of the most prominent historical monuments in Egypt, and it is also one of the most popular destinations for tourists doing tours of Alexandria.