The History of the Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria, Egypt


Nestled on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt, the Citadel of Qaitbay stands as an awe-inspiring testament to the city’s rich historical heritage. This historical fortress, with its stunning Mamluk architecture, has witnessed centuries of maritime defense and played a crucial role in protecting the city from invasions. Today, the Citadel of Qaitbay is a renowned tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world to explore its fascinating history and admire its grandeur.

  1. The Citadel of Qaitbay: A Glimpse into Egyptian History

The Citadel of Qaitbay, also known as the Qaitbay Fortress, was constructed during the 15th century under the patronage of Al-Ashraf Qaitbay, the eighth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty. Its primary purpose was to safeguard Alexandria and its vital port from potential naval threats. The location chosen for this fortress was strategic, as it occupied the site of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  1. Architectural Marvel: Mamluk Influence and Design

The Citadel of Qaitbay showcases remarkable Mamluk architecture, characterized by intricate details, sturdy fortifications, and elegant Islamic motifs. The fortress is a testament to the architectural prowess of the Mamluks, who combined both defensive and aesthetic elements seamlessly. Its walls, constructed with massive stone blocks, are adorned with decorative arches, ornamental cornices, and Arabic calligraphy, reflecting the Islamic influence prevalent during the Mamluk era.

  1. Maritime Defense and Historical Significance

As a maritime defense structure, the Citadel of Qaitbay played a crucial role in protecting Alexandria’s port and its inhabitants from various invaders. Over the centuries, the fortress faced numerous attacks and witnessed the rise and fall of several empires. It stood strong against Ottoman, Portuguese, and French forces, making it a symbol of resilience and Egyptian pride.

  1. A Remarkable Tourist Attraction

Today, the Citadel of Qaitbay stands as one of Egypt’s most iconic fortresses and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore its intriguing history by walking through its courtyards, climbing its towers, and gazing at the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. The fortress also houses the Naval Museum, where ancient artifacts and remnants of Alexandria’s maritime past are on display, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the region’s naval heritage.


The Citadel of Qaitbay is not only a historical landmark but also a symbol of Alexandria’s resilience and rich cultural heritage. Its strategic location, Mamluk architecture, and historical significance make it a must-visit destination for tourists exploring Egypt. Whether you are fascinated by ancient fortresses, intrigued by maritime history, or simply captivated by architectural marvels, the Citadel of Qaitbay promises an unforgettable journey through time and an opportunity to immerse yourself in Egypt’s captivating past.

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