A Fine Place for a Citadel

October 29, 2008
The Citadel is one of the world’s greatest monuments to medieval warfare, and often the most popular non-pharaonic monument.

Impressions of Egypt Number 7

In keeping with the blog’s theme of “Enrich Your Life, Enrich Your Relationships,” this is one of several posts about a trip we took in December 2007, to Egypt. It definitely enriched my life and expanded my understanding of that country, and of the many challenges they face as they evolve into a different kind of country than the one I visited. — Note added in 2011 after the spring revolution

This entry could also be filed as one of my “visual viewpoints” you may have seen in earlier posts.

Citadel in Cairo

For this blog entry I’ll give you a few facts about the Citadel in Cairo that I’ve stolen off the web. No point in racking my brain to explain this magnificent tourist attraction which houses a number of museums, ancient mosques and other sites.

The Citadel is one of the world’s greatest monuments to medieval warfare, and often the most popular non-pharaonic monument, as well as a highly visible landmark on Cairo’s eastern skyline.Particularly when viewed from the back side (from the north), the Citadel reveals a very medieval character.

However, the area where the Citadel is now located began it’s life not as a great military base of operations, but as the “Dome of the Wind,” a pavilion created in 810 by Hatim Ibn Hartama, who was then governor. Indeed this area was well known for its cool breeze.

These early governors, not realizing its strategic importance, simply used the pavilion for its view of Cairo. Between 1176 and 1183, Salah ad-Din (Saladin to Westerners 1171-1193 AD) fortified the area to protect it against attacks by the Crusaders, and since then, it has never been without a military garrison. Originally it served as both a fortress and a royal city.

Since our visit, a piece of the quarry broke off and killed a number of people. And again, as I’ve discovered with each new country we’ve had the privilege of visiting, world news takes on a whole new perspective when you’ve been someplace and have a better feeling for how events would affect the people there.

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