Room With A View: The Citadel Of Qaitbay In Alexandria, EgyptApril 13, 2012 by Anil Polat
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.
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.
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 isn’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.