REGARDING QAITBAY FORT:
Qaitbay Fort is one of Alexandria’s most prominent and often visited attractions. Furthermore, it is Egypt’s single and greatest example of Mamluk military architecture. The Qaitbay Fort is highly recommended for visitors to Alexandria. The Citadel of Qaitbay is a defensive fortress on the Mediterranean Sea shore of Alexandria, Egypt (also known as the Fort of Qaitbay; Arabic:). Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qait Bay built it between 1477 and 1479 AD (882 and 884 AH). The Citadel, positioned at the entrance to Eastern Harbour on the eastern side of Pharos Island’s northernmost point.
LIGHTHOUSE OF ALEXANDRIA:
On Pharos Island’s easternmost tip, the Citadel is at the eastern port entrance. It was built on the exact site of the iconic Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Until the Arab conquest, the lighthouse was in operation. In reaction to subsequent calamities, the lighthouse underwent a few minor architectural changes but remained operational. Ahmed Ibn Tulun was the first to use restoration (about 880 AD). The octagonal section was damaged by an earthquake in the eleventh century.
The bottom was kept but could only be used as a vantage point, while the top was transformed into a small mosque. An very violent earthquake in the fourteenth century entirely destroyed the entire structure.
Circassian Mameluke Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay fortified the area in 1480 AD as part of his coastal defences against the Turks, who threatened Egypt at the time. In addition to the fortifications, he built a mosque. The Citadel was most active throughout the Mameluke, Ottoman, and Modern periods, but it was hidden after the British assault of Alexandria in 1882. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities routinely rebuilt it when it deteriorated over the twentieth century.
The Citadel of Qaitbay was built by the Circassian Sultan Al-Ashraf Abou Anasr Saif El-Din Qaitbay El-Jerkasy Al-Zahiry (1468-1496 AD), who was born about 1423 AD (826 AH). He landed in Egypt as a Mamluke, at 20 years old. He was purchased by Al-Ashraf Bersbay and remained with him till his death. Sultan Jaqmaq then purchased Qaitbay and later liberated him. Qaitbay then held a variety of posts. Sultan Timurbugha elevated him to the rank of Chief of the Army (Atabec Al-Askar).
On Monday, the 26th Ragab, 872 AH, Qaitbay was elected Sultan and granted the title Almalek Al-Ashraf (1468 AD). He ruled for around 29 years and is one of the most well-known Mameluke Sultans. By exchanging gifts and dispatching ambassadors, a daring leader named Almalek Al-Ashraf attempted to usher in a new era with the Ottomans. He enjoyed travelling and took part in several well-known adventures.
THE QAITBAY FORT’S ORIGINS AND HISTORY:
In 1477, the Mamluk Sultan Al Ashraf Qaitbay issued the order for the construction of the famed fort.
It was completed two years later, in 1479. Its construction began in order to defend Alexandria from external threats, particularly those presented by the Ottomans, who controlled a strong naval force at the time.
Construction of the Qaitbay fort began in the month of Rabi al-Awal 882 H, according to Ibn Ayas. He stated that Sultan Qaitbay gave the order to build the Citade while touring Alexandria’s former lighthouse site with a small party of Mameluke princes.
The Sultan Qaitbay returned to Alexandria during the construction of the building in the month of Shaban 884 H. He provided a brave legion of warriors as well as a variety of weapons for the fort. Ibn Ayas asserts that he established new waqfs and used the proceeds to pay the military and support construction projects.
Because of its strategic location and all of the monarchs who succeeded Qaitbay, the Citadel was kept in excellent shape during the Mameluke empire.
Fortification of the garrison:
The Sultan Qansuh al-main Ghuri was concerned with the Citadel. He returned, this time with more personnel and tools for the garrison. It had a large prison for the princes and statemen who the Sultan kept away from him for whatever reason. Beginning in the year 960 H, Qansuh Al-Ghouri travelled to Alexandria with other kings.
APPROACH OF THE OTTOMAN THREAT:
While they were travelling there, he witnessed military drills and manoeuvres employing the defensive armaments of the Citadel of Qaitbay. Sensing an Ottoman threat, he issued a military order prohibiting the removal of weapons from the Citadel and threatened to execute anyone caught doing so. This directive was also written on a marble slate attached to the court door. We offer prayers to the extremely kind and loving God, as shown in the text below: Ram-ni-ram-hi bi-smi-ll-hi
Any member of the tower party who disobeys this (decree) and leaves the tower with something will be hanged at the tower’s gate and cursed by God, whether they are Mameluke, Slaves, or Zarad Kashia. Al-Ashraf Abou El-Naser Qansoh El-Ghoury gave this pronouncement; may God grant him perpetual dominion. It is currently 907 H Rabei Alawal.
After conquering Egypt, the Ottoman Turks also took care of this majestic castle. They utilised it as cover, as they did with the Citadel of Saladin in Cairo and the Citadels of Damietta, Rosetta, Al Borollos, and El-Arish. They not only sent soldiers and artillery, but also a band of musicians, including trumpeters and drummers, masons, and carpenters, to keep it in good repair.
OTTOMAN THREAT FALLS:
As Ottoman forces diminished, so did the Citadel’s strategic value. Due to its inadequacy and the superiority of French contemporaneous armaments at the time, the Citadel garrison was overrun and conquered by French troops during the French war against Egypt in 1798 AD. The French discovered some crusader armament during a trip led by Louis IX. These items could have been looted following the Battle of Al Mansurah.
After Muhammad Ali Pasha became Egypt’s ruler in 1805, the old Citadel’s external walls were rebuilt. He also supplied the citadel with cutting-edge weapons, such as coastal artillery. Mohammed Ali’s leadership may be credited with The Citadel’s second golden period.
THE ORABI UPRISING:
On July 11, 1882, the British fleet bombarded Alexandria, causing extensive damage throughout, particularly near the Citadel. The fortress suffered substantial damage as a result of this attack. The north and western façades of the structure were severely damaged by direct cannon fire. The western facade, which was completely damaged, has large holes in it.
The Citadel’s upper levels were abandoned but later renovated by the Ministry of Defense in 1904. King Farouk demanded an urgent restoration of the Citadel in order for it to act as a royal retreat.
Egyptian Naval Soldiers converted the structure into a naval museum following the 1952 revolution. The ambitious restoration plans of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization forced the fort to undergo its most significant repairs in 1984.
ACCESSING QAITBAY FORT:
Fort Qaitbay is located in the western suburbs of Alexandria and has a very excellent strategic location. The unique and distinctive structure of the fort, which is visible from almost anywhere along the city’s coastline, is a great lure for visitors to Alexandria.
QAITBAY FORT’S EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS:
The intriguing elements can be found all over Fort Qaitbay. The main tower or building of Fort Qaitbay is the focal point of the entire complex.
The protecting walls are divided into two sections. Within the outer walls are defence towers and posts for soldiers to guard. The troops’ barracks and a weapon storage area are located within the inner walls.
Fort Qaitbay’s three-story main tower is semi-square in shape. This section consists of four towers with a circle at each corner. Alexandria’s oldest mosque and minaret are housed in the tower.
Outside of Qaitbay Fort, Egypt has other notable places worth visiting, including Luxor and Memphis. At the moment, the list is incomplete. To learn more, visit the official Deluxe Tours Egypt website and read the blogs.