The History of Qaitbay Citadel
One of the Mediterranean Sea coasts strongest defensive fortresses is “Qaitbay Citadel“, located in the immortal city of Alexandria on the eastern side of the northern tip of Pharos island and extends out into Alexandria’s harbor from the corniche. It was constructed in 1477 AD by an order from Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-din Qa’it bay to defend the country from the dangerous advances of the Ottoman Empire. It was designed by a mameluke architect named Qagmas Al-Eshaqy and built in two years. It holds a unique position not only because of playing an important role in the fortification system of the city during the 15th century Ad but also because it was constructed on the exact location of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world “The Lighthouse of Alexandria” which was destroyed by a series by earthquakes in the 11th and 14th century AD.
The Historical Role of Qaitbay
The Quitbay citadel continued to play a vital role during the Ottoman Empire as it was used a powerful fortress to store and ship weapons in 1517 AD till the next three centuries. During the French campaign in 1798, the citadel caught the eye of Napoleon Bonaparte so he seized it with the entire country. At the beginning of 19th century, Muhammad Ali worked in renovating the walls of the citadel after it was heavily destroyed by the British naval bombardment and provided the stronghold with modern weapons which made the reign of Muhammed Ali the golden era of the citadel.
The Architecture and Interior of Qaitbay Citadel
The Qaitbay Citadel was built using the stones salvaged from the huge lighthouse on an area of a squared shaped land that looks very much like a peninsula as it is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea from three sides. It has three floors in the first floor there is a big mosque and the second is an octagon containing corridors, halls, and a breathing interior while the third and final floor is a large circular room holding the seat of the king.
The Most Famous Users of the Castle
Qaitbay citadel is the most important fort in Alexandria, so the rulers of Egypt cared about it throughout the ages.
-In the Mamluk Period, Qansoh Al-Ghuri Increased the strength of its protector and shipped with arms and gear.
-When Ottomans opened Egypt in 1517 they used this Citedal as a fort to protect them from three centuries.
Then the French campaign was able to seize it in 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte came with 50,000 soldiers to seize Alexandria and seized the castle.
-In the 19th century, Muhammad Ali worked for fortifying Egypt so he renewed the walls of the castle while he was ruling Egypt. Because the walls were completely damaged by the British Naval bombardment.
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