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Qaitbay fort in Alexandria


  • Qaitbay fort in Alexandria it considered to be one of the most important defensive strongholds not only in Egypt, but  along the Mediterranean Sea coast. 

 Qaitbay fort in Alexandria 

  • It considered to be an important part of the fortification system of Alexandria in the 15th century AD.

The location of Qaitbay fort


Qaitbay fort in Alexandria


It situated at the entrance of the eastern harbor of Alexandria
  • Sultan Qaitbey built it, during the 14th century to defend Alexandria from the advances of the Ottoman Empire, which began to change the direction of its conquests from Europe to the Islamic East, so Sultan Qaytbay tried to fortify the Egyptian fronts, and began building many new castles.

Who was sultan Qaitbay

  • He was a Mameluke  who had come to Egypt as a young man, less than 20 years old.

  • He was one of the most important and prominent Mameluke Sultans, he ruled for about 29 years. 

  • He had an honorable history in ruling Egypt, as he was known to be very fair man.

History of the citadel

  • Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qaitbay began building this castle in the year 882 AH, and completed its construction in 884 AH.

  • The Citadel continued to function during  the Mameluke period, the Ottoman period and the Modern period, but after the British bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, it was kept out of the spotlight
  • It became neglected until the 20th century, then it was restored several times by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The description of the citadel


  • It is one of the castles that have remained until today, as a witness to the strength of Islamic civilization.
  • Qaitbay Citadel was built on an area of 17,550 square meters.
  • The castle is surrounded by the sea from three sides

  • The citadel surrounded by two walls, one inside and the other outside, in the space between the two walls there were rooms built to be barracks for soldiers.

  • Around the citadel there is a large nave where the soldiers were trained in combat matters in it.

The castle consists of three square floors


  • In the four corners of the castle there are semi-circular towers that end with prominent balconies.

Qaitbay fort in Alexandria


  • In these towers there are slots for shooting arrows.

  • Qaitbay fort was built in the same location of the lighthouse, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and by some of the ancient lighthouse stones, Which collapsed in  702 A.H, after a devastating earthquake.

  • What is interesting that the lighthouse itself was built by some of the ruins of ancient Pharaonic cities such as Memphis and Thebes.

  • In the entrance, there are pink granite stones from the remains of the stones used in Alexandria's lighthouse.

At the top of the entrance, there is an opening that was called Oil pawl.

  • The use of this opening was for a defensive purpose, if an attack occurred on the fortress, soldiers poured boiling oil from this hidden hole on any attacker.



  • There is a huge door made of wood and brass.

The first floor of the citadel

The  Mosque

  • It has an area of 30 square meters.

  • This mosque is the second oldest mosque in Alexandria.

  • which consists of a courtyard, and defensive corridors that allow soldiers to pass easily during the defence operations of the castle

  • There are two rooms attached to the mosque, one for storing mosque furniture, and the other for the Imam to use for a break between prayers.

  • It contains the longest dome of a mosque, which is right in the middle.
  • This mosque had a minaret, but it collapsed recently.
  • The floor of the mosque is made from white and black Alabaster, and decorated with beautiful geometric mosaics.

Qaitbay fort in Alexandria


  • The mosque here was not used for praying only, it was used also to teach the soldiers who were residing in the castle, and there are four places inside the mosque for that  (this was called iwan).

  • Here the architectural genius appears, as palm tree trunks were used in the construction between the limestone, the purpose from that was that the palm trees were acting as shock absorbers in the event of an earthquake happened, and they also absorbed salt and moisture from the stones, especially that the sea is adjacent to the castle.
  • As well as a mill to grind grain for the soldiers who residing in the castle.

The second floor

  • A large hall used by army leaders for meetings and making military plans.

The third floor 

  • It includes a large room which known as (the seat of Sultan Qaitbay) in which he sits to see the ships.
  • Also, on this floor there is an oven for preparing bread.
  • On this floor there are 28 rooms, the rooms overlooking the courtyard were used for sleeping, while the rooms overlooking the sea side were used for guarding.

The cistern

  • The castle has a huge cistern to store fresh water for the use of the soldiers who were resided in the castle.
  • It was cleaned every three months.

  • Qaitbay citadel in Alexandria is usually crowded with a pleasant crowd enjoying the sea views.

Entrance fee of  Qaitbay Fort

  • 60 LE for foreigners, 30 LE for foreigners student.
  • 20 LE for Egyptian, 5 LE for Egyptian student.

References

  • https://ar.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%82%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A9_%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%AA%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%8A


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