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Photo Essay: The Cairo Citadel

September 22, 2010
Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

The Cairo Citadel was built by Saladin in 1183AD, who overthrew the Fatimid Caliphate and then wanted to build a wall around Cairo with the Citadel as the centrepiece of the defensive arrangement. I was very very late but hoped I can still visit it.

Citadel,Cairo

Driving up to the citadel in a taxi, you can see the building up on the small hill.

Citadel,Cairo

The walls of the citadel and the bastions on the end are quite impressive I guess, but for a person who has grown up seeing Ranthanbore Fort, Agra Fort  and other giant much more impressive forts of the Indian ilk, this wasn't really that impressive, but ok, lets not get into that.

Citadel,Cairo

Getting down at the bottom of the citadel from the taxi and looking up at it.

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

On the left was a highly manicured garden which had the Ibis bird cavorting around picking up the insects. I was told that there are only few minutes left but still managed to get in.

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

Here’s the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.It is so much like the Ottoman Mosques of Istanbul.  

Citadel,Cairo

The corridors outside the mosque are tall and very elegant, made around 1848, so its relatively new.

Citadel,Cairo

You enter the mosque and what you see are these constellations of lovely lamps.
Citadel,Cairo

Beautiful Chandeliers.

Citadel,Cairo

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

Very tall ceilings with exquisitely decorated domes. The arches are soaring and very graceful indeed.

Citadel,Cairo

Citadel,Cairo

There were two minbar’s, one made out of marble and another one made out of gilded wooden.

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo
Citadel,Cairo

The grave of Tusun Pasha, Mohammad Ali’s oldest son who died in 1816.
Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo 

Citadel,Cairo

Out in the courtyard, an exquisitely carved marble fountain.

Citadel,Cairo

Citadel,Cairo

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

Then at the end, you get to see an extraordinary sight. This is the French brass clock tower which was presented to Mohammad Ali by King Louis Philippe of France in 1845 (this was reciprocated by an Obelisk of Luxor which stands at the Palace de la Concorde in Paris). You know what the tragedy was? the clock never worked, ever. And the French got a brilliant monument. The French looked after their gift much better than the Egyptians looked after their gift. It looks manky, dusty, the panes are broken, just sad all over the place.

Citadel,Cairo

This is the door sill stone for the door on the side of the mosque courtyard, it was highly polished and worn away from the millions of feet walking over the sill. Then went around to look at the view from the rear of the citadel over the city.

Citadel,Cairo

Dont have to tell you what those are. Following are some photographs of the city from a protruding corner of the citadel.

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo
Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo
Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo
Citadel,Cairo 

Then turned around to check out some of the few sights I could see, the policemen were starting to shoo people away as it was after 5 PM.

Citadel,Cairo

 

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

Citadel,Cairo Citadel,Cairo

This is the place where Muhammad Ali killed hundreds of Mamluks who had gathered to ostensibly celebrate his son’s start of a campaign against the Wahhabi’s of Saudi Arabia. Gosh, those damn wahhabi’s were still fought against so many decades back. See that strange triangular structure on top? That’s a wind catcher and it would direct cooling breezes inside the building.

Citadel,Cairo

Road of the Lions.

Citadel,Cairo

Another beautiful minaret on another mosque in the citadel, I didn't get a chance to even look into these things, perhaps the next visit :)

Citadel,Cairo

And I end with graffiti on the walls of the citadel. Here is the slideshow with more photographs and higher resolution.

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.
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Photo Essay: The Cairo Citadel

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  • » Published on September 22, 2010
  • » Type: News
  • » Filed under: .

Author: Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

 

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