One of the most famous and wonderful attraction in Egypt is The Citadel of Saladin. It is located on a spur of limestone that had been detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying. It lies at the top of a high cliff, the citadel is also featured with its special location that offers the tourists with magnificent views over different sections around Cairo.
It was built by the well-known King Saladin El Ayouby. He was the army leader and the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, during the end of the 12th century in which the Citadel has witnessed many important events in the Egyptian history. The citadel was used as the seat of the king and his government in Egypt for many centuries and many dynasties including the Ayyubids, the Mamluks, and even some Ottomans ruled over Egypt from the Citadel.
Within the Citadel you can find many important monuments that were built in the Citadel of Saladin throughout its long history. This includes the outstanding Mosque of Mohamed Ali which is one of the best examples of the Ottoman architecture in Egypt, the Mamluk Mosque of El Nasser Mohamed, and the small wonderful Mosque of Suleiman Pasha El Khadim.
Saladin El Ayouby built the Citadel for a main purpose. As When he took control of Egypt from the Fatimids who were ruling Egypt from the 8th till the 12th century, There was no resistance to be mentioned. So he realized that Egypt needs to be protected by a fortified citadel against any foreign attacks especially the threat of the crusaders that were carrying military campaigns towards the Middle East at this period of time. The Citadel has defended Egypt against many attacks in different periods of time.
The most remarkable monument within the Citadel is Mohamed Ali Mosque. It is also called Alabaster Mosque and it stands proudly on the highest point inside the courtyard of the Citadel of Saladin. It was built by Yousf Boushnaq, a Turkish man who had come over from Istanbul to build this great Mosque for Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt from1805 until 1849. The work continued continuously until the death of Mohamed Ali in 1849, and had to be finished during the reign of his successors. Mohamed Ali was buried in the tomb situated on the south-eastern side of Beit Al Salah, on the right side of the entrance that leads to the main section.
The part that was dedicated to prayer is the eastern section of the Mosque. It is square in shape, each side measure 41m, and has a roof with a central dome (52m in height) resting on four large arches supported by massive piers. There are four half domes which are surrounding the big central dome , while there are four more small domes covering the corners.