There are so many mosques in Cairo, probably more than 1,000 mosques. You get to see it everywhere in Cairo but Citadel of Saladin is one of the stunning ones that you may want to include in your must-visit list. The structure is quite unusual as it was built on top of a hill and can be viewed from far. This historical site is a medieval Islamic fortress that has mosques and museums inside.
How to explore Citadel of Saladin?
This place is huge and it has two sections, the northeastern section which represents the military fortifications and the southwestern that represents the royal city through its mosques and palaces. It has several gates and one of the most important gates is Makattam gate also known as Salah Salem gate that was established in the Ottoman era.
Burj al-Muqattam Tower
A large tower built by the Ottoman governor Ibrahim Pasha around 1525.
The Police Museum
The museum is located at the north gate and house the former prison so it has exhibitions on famous political assassinations and displays of the murder weapon used. If you don’t have all the time, you can skip this.
Mohamed Ali Mosque
The mosque is located at the summit of the citadel so you can actually view it from Citadel View restaurant. We had our lunch in Citadel View restaurant one day before we reached the actual citadel. Citadel View restaurant is a famous restaurant in Cairo that has a great view overseeing Saladin Citadel and the Mohamed Ali mosque. Well, if you have enough time, try to have your meal at the Citadel View restaurant too.
The facade is still looking good with big domes and tall minarets. The exterior is made from alabaster stones but not shiny white. This mosque is also known as Alabaster Mosque When I stepped into the mosque, my first impression was this looks pretty familiar. This looks almost the same as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The interior is massive which can have a capacity for up to 10,000 people. You will see big chandeliers and colorful stained glass windows.
Shoes need to remove before you go into the mosque. But there are some sellers selling some shoes cover outside. If you do not want to remove your shoes, you can buy the shoe cover. The headscarf for the lady is not necessary.
Outside there are beautiful views of Cairo city. You can even see the Giza pyramids in the distance.
At the top, you can see Cairo is a very densely populated city since it is the capital of Egypt. The majority of the people have no choice but to live in Cairo because of the Nile River and most of the other areas are mainly desert.
Citadel of Saladin is an interesting place to visit and there is a beautiful mosque at the summit of the citadel. This place is huge so don’t come in the late afternoon as there are more sites to visit within the citadel. You can also see the panoramic view of Cairo City here.