The Citadel of Saladin is one of the most visited points in Cairo. And in it is the most famous mosque in the city and the most visited, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque.
In addition to this mosque there are also other monuments and museums and above all a viewpoint from which to contemplate the city with unbeatable views. Of course, it will be difficult for you to see it clearly due to contamination.
Remember that you have to take off your shoes at the entrance. It’s okay to leave your shoes there, no one will take them.
What to see in the Citadel
Saladin was a very important ruler in the Islamic world who established Islam as the official religion in Egypt.
It was in the 12th century that the Citadel was built by his order on top of Mount Muzzattam to protect the city and as a fortress for the royal residence.
Since the 12th century and for 700 years it has been the residence of Egyptian legislators.
During so many centuries of existence, the Citadel has had various buildings and has undergone many modifications, but several mosques and palaces of unquestionable beauty have survived over time.
All these buildings are located in the southern part of the Citadel and stand out, in addition to the Alabaster Mosque, the An-Nasir Mohamed Mosque, the Ahmad al-Katjuda Mosque (although it is a bit hidden and you have to look for it) and various palaces. Some of them have museums that are worth visiting.
The Alabaster Mosque
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also called alabaster because this is the material with which it is built, was built during the 19th century, finishing its construction in 1848.
It is located in the highest part of the Citadel, so it can be seen from much of the city.
And thanks to that, from its exterior there are also wonderful views of the beautiful city of Cairo.
The Alabaster Mosque, with a great history behind it, was built in the style of Turkish mosques as can be seen from its towers and minarets.
When visiting this mosque, you shouldn’t stop admiring both its exterior, where the ablutions fountain is located in a large courtyard, and its interior with numerous lamps and where the tomb of Muhammad Ali stands out, the white marble sepulcher, the pulpit and the tribune.
Sitting on the carpet of this wonderful mosque under the light of its hundreds of lamps that reflects on the alabaster walls is an unforgettable experience.
Practical information about the Citadel and the Mosque
The Citadel opens every day at 8am and closes at 4pm in summer and 5pm in winter.
The museums are only open until 2:30 p.m. Entrance to the Citadel costs 40LE.
As always in Cairo, the best way to get to the citadel is by taxi.
Remember that to enter the mosques of Egypt you must be properly dressed according to Muslim customs, so you cannot go with shorts or tank tops.
If you go like this, at the entrance to the mosque they give you a cape to cover yourself with, but we recommend going well dressed because the conditions of the cape do not seem optimal.
You also have to remember that you have to take off your shoes to enter.