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Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria Egypt

The sultans and monarchs of Egypt maintained care of Qaitbay Citadel throughout historical times, one of the most stunning military fortresses in the Mediterranean region.

The structure is not the most critical aspect of this place, as with most things in Alexandria. To take advantage of an existing foundation on the site—that of the fabled Pharos Lighthouse, which by the 14th century had crumbled due to severe seismic damage—Qaitbay constructed the castle here.

What is the reason for calling Qaitbay Citadel by this name?

Qaitbay Citadel
Amazing sea view of Qaitbay Citadel

Relative to the Mamluk Sultan, Qaitbay

Where is Qaitbay Citadel located?

Qaitbay Citadel
Top view of Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria Egypt

Qaitbay Castle is located at the end of Pharos Island in the far west of Alexandria. It was built in the place of the ancient Minar of Alexandria, which was destroyed in the year 702 AH following the devastating earthquake that occurred during the reign of Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad bin Qalawun.

When was Qaitbay Citadel built?

Qaitbay Citadel
Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria Egypt

Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qaitbay started building this castle in the year 882 AH and completed its construction in the year 884 AH.

Why was Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qaitbay interested in Alexandria?

Qaitbay Citadel
Qaitbay Citadel from sea side

Sultan al-Ashraf Abu al-Nasr Qaitbay’s interest in Alexandria was the large number of direct threats to Egypt from the Ottoman Empire, which threatened the entire Arab region.

What is the exact description of Qaitbay Citadel?

Qaitbay Citadel
Qaitbay Citadel

This castle takes the form of a square with an area of 150 m x 130 m and is surrounded by the sea on three sides. The castle’s exterior includes defensive towers on all four sides that rise to the level

of the wall, except for the eastern border, which contains defensive slots for soldiers.

The State Information Service website states that the castle was constructed on 17,550 square meters of land with the sea on three sides.

The castle has two towers that form a three-quarter circle as the main entrance on its southwest side. It also has two walls that serve as representations of its two defensive areas.

The castle has three square floors and semi-circular towers in its four corners. These towers have two levels of arrow-throwing holes and prominent balconies at their tops.

The Citadel Mosque, located on the first floor, has a courtyard, four iwans, and defensive passageways that make it easy for soldiers to move about while conducting citadel defense operations. A minaret once stood above this mosque, but it just fell.

One of Alexandria’s oldest known mosques, the one in the citadel, stands out for its significance.

The third floor has a spacious room known as “the throne of Sultan Qaitbay,” where he sits to observe ships traveling a day’s voyage from Alexandria. The second floor comprises hallways, interior rooms, and passageways.

A mill to grind grain for the castle’s soldiers is also located on this floor, along with one of the ovens used to bake wheat bread.

For the convenience of the castle’s inhabitants, the court includes a sizable cistern where fresh water is kept.


Qaitbay Citadel
Qaitbay Citadel from sea side in Alexandria Egypt
  1. Sultan al-Ashraf Abu al-Nasr Qaitbay’s interest in Alexandria was the large number of direct threats to Egypt from the Ottoman Empire, which threatened the entire Arab region.
  2. Qaitbay Citadel was built on an area of about 17,550 square meters. The outer walls of the Citadel and its military fortifications were made in this area, and it is a group of walls built to increase the fortification of the Citadel.
  3. Qaitbay Citadel is One of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  4. The wall of the Citadel of Qaitbay is impenetrable due to the multiple watchtowers.
  5. Transforming the castle into an archaeological site to become the most important Egyptian and Islamic monument in the city of Alexandria


The citadel no longer serves any military use. It now serves as a tiny naval museum, but it could be interesting to go inside and try to picture the enormous building that once stood on its base.

Anglers and families alike frequent the peninsula that leads to the citadel. A friendly population frequently congregates there to take advantage of the eateries, ice cream parlors, and sea vistas that line the roadway leading up to the stronghold.

The castle is one of Egypt’s most stunning archaeological monuments, and there is a lot of fascinating history and civilization there.

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