Cairo Widens Access to Famous Saladin Citadel

Cairo Issued a Statement on Sunday About Widening Public Access to Its Famous Medieval Saladin Citadel.

Feb 25, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Saladin Citadel. Via Wikipedia


Cairo issued a statement on Sunday about widening public access to its famous Saladin Citadel. The Egyptian authorities described the citadel as a key tourist destination in the city. Also, they said it is “probably the most popular Islamic monument” there. From the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries, it served as the center of Egyptian administration. Now, people will be able to see new towers.


Cairo Continues to Develop Its Tourism

Egyptians take in the view of Cairo, as seen from the Salah al-Din Citadel, the seat of Islamic rule over the country for about 700 years in 2009. It was just recently reopened to the public. GETTY IMAGES


In 1983, citizens and tourists got their first chance to see some parts of this historically important building for the Egyptian people. But, following renovation work, the city reopened admission to the Haddad and Ramla towers, among other areas. The Saladin Citadel is a medieval Islamic-era fortification in Cairo, built by Salah ad-Din (Saladin) and further developed by subsequent Egyptian rulers.


Its location on a promontory of the Mokattam hills near the center of Cairo commands a strategic position overlooking the city and dominating its skyline. When it was constructed, it was among the most impressive and ambitious military fortification projects of its time. It is now a preserved historic site, including mosques and museums. Also, it is 850 years old.


Layout of the citadel today. Via Wikipedia


The National Strategy for Developing Tourism in Egypt includes the repair and reopening of the attractions. Ahmed Eissa, Egyptian minister for tourism and antiquities, initially started this project. “I’m being told by travel agencies that the citadel visit doesn’t last more than an hour. Our plan in the coming months is to extend the time in which visitors tour the citadel from one hour to at least three”, Eissa told reporters Sunday, according to Reuters.

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30 Milion Visitors by 2028

View of the Citadel near the visitor entrance. Via Wikipedia.


“This is the first effort we’re making to relaunch Cairo as a new cultural product, which we will call ‘Cairo City Break’, with the details to be unveiled in the coming months”, he added. Increased Citadel access coincides with the nation getting ready to inaugurate the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum. The museum should launch later in the year.


Also, the institution has the potential to welcome approximately 100,000 artefacts spread over 484,000 square feet and 12 exhibition spaces. Egypt declared last autumn that it aimed to increase foreign visitor numbers to the nation by twofold during the following five years. The goal is to have 30 million visitors by 2028, as described by the Egyptian authorities.


The Valley of the Kings isn’t as spooky during the day. Source: Journey to Egypt.


Last year, it reached 14.91 million tourists, the government announced Tuesday. It has set a goal of 18 million for 2024. Tourism has long been a major source of income for the country, though the sector has suffered from terror attacks in recent years, along with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in nearby Gaza.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.