Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
March 2, 2004
The mosque is situated about 15km from the centre of town. You should take a taxi or a tour can be arranged through your hotel.
Once you enter the holy area, you must take off your shoes to go inside, lay on the floor, and look at the ceiling. From it hangs the most incredible array of light fixtures you have ever seen -- be amazed at the beautiful ancient architecture.
From journal Land of the Pharoahs
September 29, 2002
To get to the Citadel it is best to take a taxi. Just get in and say "Al-Qalaa." It should be no more than 6 LE from downtown. The main enterance is on Sharia' Salah Salem, and it will cost you 20 LE, or 10 LE for students, to get in. Beware, the Citadel closes at 5:00 and if you want to see everything, expect to spend 2.5-3 hours.
When you enter you will be in the Southern Enclosure and will pass a few, mostly pointless shops. Immediately follow the signs to the Muhammad Ali mosque. Love it or hate it, most hate it.
The Muhammad Ali mosque towers on top of the Citadel and is impressive in size. It was modeled after the Ottoman mosques, however the inside looks like a cheap attempt to build a "modern" mosque resembling the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. Nonetheless, it is quite the site, and worth seeing. Even more impressive are the views from the top of the Citadel. You can see all of Cairo, even the Pyramids, depending on how hazy it is.
Also worth seeing in the Southern Enclosure are the Mosque of An-Nasir Muhammad, and the Gawhara Palace. The An-Nasir mosque is a nice Mamluke mosque and the Gawhara is the palace of Muhammad Ali. There is also a nice Police Museum. There is also a nice Sufi dancing show in the Southern Enclosure on Sat, Mon, and Wed nights (see my journal on Sufi dancing).
After the Southern Enclosure, head up to the Northern Enclosure and the Military museum. The military museum offers a nice collection of artifacts from Egypt's Pharonic, Mamluke, and Ottoman pasts, as well as the present. If you do not know too much about Egyptian history you might be lost in some parts, but it is a nice museum worth seeing. Note though, that you have to pay to use cameras, so don't bother taking pictures.
Also in the Northern Enclosure is an interesting Carriage Museum, an Antiquities museum (although it's all in Arabic) and the very nice Mosque of Suleyman Pasha.
That about does it for the Citadel, but if it is still early and you aren't tired yet, I suggest walking back around to the bottom of the Citadel and checking out the Mosque and Madrassa of Hassan Pasha. A massive construction built in the 14th century. There is also the impressive Mosque of Ar-Rifai, which houses the remains of such notables as the Shah of Iran and King Farouk, and if you give a little "baksheesh" (tip) you can see the tombs.
From journal A Year In Cairo
July 26, 2002
The north entrance to the Citadel was closed, so we had to walk around the perimeter of the complex, deftly dodging local drivers, dealers and dealmakers. We finally entered the Citadel through the south entrance, and once inside we were away from the pesky peddlers! There are quite a few interesting buildings within the Citadel walls. The views from inside and atop the Citadel are impressive.
The picturesque Mosque of Mohammed Ali is relatively modern in age and style. It was built from 1824 to 1848, with the tin-sheathed domes being rebuilt in the 1930's. This distinctive mosque, with its slender minarets, is glossier and more touristy than other mosques. Creamy alabaster was used on the exterior and interior for a brighter look. My friend and I sat on one of the carpets critiquing the curious interior design, with an intrusive amount of round globe lamp fixtures and chandeliers that belonged more in a hotel lobby or store rather than in a religious mosque. It was interesting to observe cultural differences, as the devout visitors prayed while the uninformed visitors acted as if they were in a hotel lobby or store.
The Citadel also houses a Military Museum, which can be skipped if you are not a big history buff of modern Egypt. Otherwise, stop in for a quick history lesson on the great victories during various Egyptian wars. There are colorful displays, weapons, statues, uniforms, etc. The Citadel contains other notable structures like the Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, the Mosque of Sultan al-Nasir, Yussef's Well, and the Al-Gawhara Palace.
From journal Bill in Egypt - CAIRO
June 22, 2003
’I’d rather’, he made a gesture as if cutting his throat, ‘than ask you for money. Besides I’m not a guide, I’m a student’.
He now pushed a card under my nose and read it out to me: Cairo University 2000-2001. ‘It’s my old card’.
Yes, I could see that. The only Arabic I can read are the numbers. He turned out his pockets, ‘I must have left this year’s card at home’.
I smile at my husband. I’m sure this card is real, but I can’t read it. He may well be a cleaner and this is his authorisation to enter the university. But does it matter? We are on our way to the Citadel. Our new friend follows us closely pointing out things, it’s difficult to get rid of him, so we allow him to follow us.
The view from the Citadel is stunning. Below me I can see all of Islamic Cairo in the distance the pyramids of Giza. Only on clear days you can see them. Most of the time Cairo is covered by a hazy blanket of smog, caused by dense traffic, exhaust fumes, 18.000.000 people in Cairo, it’s unbelievable.
The citadel is perched on a hill above Midan Salah ad-Din. There are three mosques and several museums.Opening hours: 8am–5pm winter/6pm summer. The museums close at 4:30pm. Entrance fee is 20 Egyptian pounds (4 euros). There is a separate entrance fee for each of the museums. If you want to take photos you must buy a photo permit.
In the Police Museum, you can see the assassination room, with a series of photos and captions showing the attempt on president Nasser’s life.
The Gawhara Palace and Museum shows costumes and scenes from court life in the 19th century. Some of the rooms have been reconstructed to show what they must have been like when Mohamed Ali lived here in the 18th century. Mohamed Ali rose to power after Napoleon’s French army had left.
National Military Museum here you can see ceremonial costumes and a scale model of the citadel. But why would you like to see this when you can see the real thing?
Carriage Museum contains some 19th century horse drawn carriages.
The Mohamed Ali Mosque looks like a Turkish mosque and reminded me vaguely of the Aya Sphia in Istanbul. This is the mosque with the two slender minarets.
None of these museums or mosques were particularly interesting. But the view over the city is worth going to the citadel.
We now wanted to continue our walk and who was waiting for us at the gate? Yes, our ‘friend’.
’Goodbye, and thank you’.
’Money’, he begged.
’I thought you’d rather’ I made a gesture as if slit my throat . . . .
From journal Cairo: Love It or Hate It
December 5, 2000
From journal Cairo's Museums and the Nile
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
March 3, 2008
From journal Conquering Al-Qahira: a Walk Through Old Cairo
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
November 19, 2000
From the courtyard, visitors may have a view across the city, theoretically to the pyramids in Giza, if visibility allows (not very chancy, due to the intense air pollution - we only saw the buildings down the hill). It is situated at the Citadel, a fortified area built in 1176 by Salah ad-Din to protect it against attacks by the Crusaders.
From journal Cairo, starting point to a travel in history
Diamond Bar, California
September 28, 2002
The Citadel itself, however, can be something of a let down. The museums are poor and the other mosques hold little of interest, particularly compared to some of the more fascinating mosques in the near vicinity (Ibn Tulun, Sultan Hassan). You may be mobbed by Egyptian school children, and foreign women are likely to get leered at quite regularly. Overall I would say that unless you have a deep interest in the history of the Citadel, there are other sites more worthy of your time and money.
From journal Cairo--More than the Pyramids