Room With A View: The Citadel Of Qaitbay In Alexandria, Egypt

April 13, 2012 by Anil Polat  
Pictures and Video

citadel of qaitbay alexandria

There is something unexpectedly personable about the Citadel of Qaitbay; a building that looks like it was built with Lego. Created to protect Alexandria, Egypt from an impending Ottoman invasion in the late 1400s, it only served that purpose for about 30 years. The Ottomans eventually conquered Alexandria and whomever ruled Egypt in the following centuries used the citadel to protect this section of Mediterranean coast.

citadel of qaitbay view of alexandria

A building designed with war in mind, I suspect that sultans and kings past did their best to maintain the peace along these warm waters. Mostly because the wall facing the sea was heavily armed; save for a single room during peacetime – the sultan’s suite. It offers some magnificent views of Alexandria’s harbor, although it took a bit of rule-breaking and a some guard-coaxing to hop up on the wall to see them.

view of alexandria egypt coast

Entrance to the Citadel of Qaitbay costs around 25 Egyptian Pounds (~$4.50) and is one of the most popular sites in the city for tourists along with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. As touristy as the citadel is and ordinary the interior walls are on the surface, the Citadel of Qaitbay is worth about an hour of your time if visiting Alexandria. There isnโ€™t much written around inside to help guide you but many of the tourist police lounging around will be willing to give you mini-tour. (With the expectation of a few Egyptian pounds in return). The history you’ll hear may not be remotely accurate but you’ll leave with a colorful story and see the entire coastline of Alexandria from tip to the other (Citadel of Qaitbay) tip.

Comments - 4 Responses   (Need a pic to show with your comment? Go get a gravatar!)

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

Sorted by rating: (Click arrows up or down to to vote anonymously.)

  1. Quite a stunning looking place Anil! I want you to reveal this map of secret passageways so that us treasure hunters can have a look around.

    • Anil P. says:

      Thanks! If only I were good with directions…but you can get some secrets from the quiet man in the corner, just outside of the Sultan’s room ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I want to hear the “not remotely accurate” history that the guards told you ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like it would be some juicy Egyptian historical gossip!

    • Anil P. says:

      haha, inaccurate histories are often more interesting than the real thing! Though to his credit, he did reveal some secret passage ways in the citadel that probably would have gone unnoticed otherwise.