Salah El-Din Citadel
Michelle McMahon/Getty Images

Key Info

Al Abageyah

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Museums, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 fortress located in Islamic Cairo was constructed in the late 1100s by Salah al-Din, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and an opponent of those involved in the Christian Crusades. Within its 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 structure also houses several museums. Save some time for Gawhara 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. You can see much of Coptic Cairo and, on a clear day, the Pyramids of Giza from the fortress. Also, remember to cover up like you would when visiting other Islamic sites.

The Salah El-Din Citadel is located about 4 miles southeast of downtown Cairo in the southern part of Islamic Cairo. Parking in the area is hit or miss, so plan on taking a taxi or bus tour to the property. Several bus tours, including Love Egypt Tours and Memphis Tours, offer excursions to the area for roughly $100 per person. The site is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with reduced hours during Ramadan. Keep in mind that mosques in the citadel are closed on Fridays for the Islamic Sabbath. Admission to the Salah El-Din Citadel costs 60 Egyptian pounds (or $7) and includes entry to Gawhara Palace and all of the fortress' mosques and museums. Additional fees apply to use the property's restrooms and for drinks and snacks purchased on-site.

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More Best Things To Do in Cairo

Islamic Cairo
Coptic Cairo (Old City)
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 10
#1 Islamic Cairo

This sprawling neighborhood in eastern Cairo encompasses a labyrinth of twisting alleyways and a spattering of awe-inspiring architecture. The atmosphere here will take some getting used to: The streets are crowded, noisy and littered with animal droppings. But if you take the time to adjust to Islamic Cairo's chaotic environment, you won't regret making the trek.

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