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Cairo

Salah El-Din Citadel (The Citadel)

Salah Salem | Cairo, Egypt | Official website
Salah El-Din Citadel (The Citadel) Photo info
U.S. Department of Defense, VIRIN/Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Museums, Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.4)
Value: 4.5 (4.5)
Facilities: 4.0 (4.0)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
About these ratings

You'll need to devote a whole day to the Salah El-Din Citadel, which is quite possibly the most popular non-pyramid attraction in Cairo. This massive complex located in Islamic Cairo was constructed in the late 1100s by Salah al-Din (known in Christianity as Saladin), the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and the Christian Crusaders' opponent. Within these massive walls lies a trove of worthwhile attractions: The Mohamed Ali Mosque is the most visited site by far, but you should spend time exploring the other two mosques as well. The Citadel also houses a carriage museum, a military museum, a garden museum, and several other educational sites. Save some time for Gawhara (Jewel) Palace, which former Ottoman Army commander Mohamed Ali built for his last wife.

While recent visitors praise the number of things-to-do here, most recommend taking some time to stop and enjoy the view. From the Citadel, you can see much of Coptic Cairo and, on a clear day, the Giza Pyramids. According to one TripAdvisor user, "The mosques are captivating and the view over the city was among the best I had seen." 

The Citadel is located in the southern part of Islamic Cairo, and the best way to get there is by taxi. To learn more about reaching this historic site, visit our guide to Getting Around Cairo. The site is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., although the mosques are closed on Fridays for the Islamic Sabbath. Admission to the Citadel costs 50 EGP (around $8 USD) and includes entry to all of the mosques, museums, and the Gawhara Palace. To find out more about the Salah El-Din Citadel, visit the Egyptian Tourism Authority's website.

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