The construction of the Citadel of Saladin was started by King Saladin in 1170 A.D, and completed by his brother, King El-Addel. It is located on a high hill that overlooks the old city of Cairo. Saladin built this fortress to protect the old city of Cairo, and it mainly consists of enclosure walls and watchtowers, as well as many, many gates! As every 120m there are gates into the Citadel that were built at various times in history. The architectural plan of the fortress resembles many of the ones that were built in Syria and Palestine at the time of the Crusades. Later on, the Citadel became a major training centre for the Egyptian army.
The Citadel was neglected until the Mamluke Period, in the 14th Century, when they used it as a residence for the Sultan. Also, in that Century, the Sultan El-Naser Mohamed added many buildings, including a Mosque, inside the castle. During the Ottoman times, the Turks installed further reinforcements, and used it as a residence for the Turkish Viceroy, as well as increasing the number of garrisons in the Citadel. Under Mohamed Ali, there were other monuments added to the Citadel, among them the great alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali.