Citadel, Al Azhar Park and the Museum

Citadel, Al Azhar Park and the Museum – STT 105

This ONE DAY TOUR will take you to some of the most important areas of Cairo and you will explore and enjoy some of Egypt’s ancient and Islamic heritage. You will visit the Saladin Citadel and the Egyptian Museum, both on the “must see” list for your Egyptian holiday.

The Citadel of Salah al Din

The Saladin Citadel of Cairo is a fortification in Cairo, Egypt. The location, part of the Muqattam hill near the center of Cairo, was once famous for its fresh breeze and grand views of the city, and was fortified by the Ayyubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) between 1176 and 1183 AD, to protect it from the Crusaders.

Citadel of Salah al Din
The Saladin Citadel, built on an artificially detached range of the Muqqattam Hills, was constructed with limestone quarried from them and large blocks supplied by the small pyramids at Giza. Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty in Egypt, came to power in 1169 AD as the result of a threatened attack by crusaders, and the Citadel was completed between 1176 and 1182. In the 19th century, during the Turkish period, the Citadel became the residence for the royal family. Muhammad Ali, the Turkish ruler, added a great alabaster Ottoman mosque, built in the Istanbul style. As well as visiting the mosque and palace, you will enjoy spectacular views across the city from this high point.

Mosque of Muhammad Ali

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo in Egypt and commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848.

Muhammad Ali Mosque (or the Alabaster Mosque)
The mosque of Muhammad Ali was designed in the Ottoman style of Istanbul and is quite unrelated to the architectural tradition of Cairo. In the courtyard in front of the sanctuary there is a charming Turkish baroque ablution fountain (which makes an excellent photo opportunity). The gingerbread clock was given by Louis Philippe in 1846 as an exchange gift for the obelisk now in the Place de la Concorde, Paris. Apparently the clock has never worked and some say Egypt didn’t get the best of the bargain.

View of the Sultan Hassan Mosque (left) and the Rifa'i Mosque (right) from the Cairo Citadel.

View of the Sultan Hassan Mosque (left) and the Rifa'i Mosque (right) from the Cairo Citadel.

Sultan Hassan Mosque and School (Madrassa)
The Islamic School of Sultan Hassan at Saladin Square just below the Citadel is considered unique in the East. It was built replacing two palaces that belonged to the Princes Yulbugha al-Yahyawi and al–Maridani. It was founded in 1356 A.D and finished after three years of continuous work. The fountain of ablutions stands in the centre of an almost perfect square courtyard. Of the original marble floors with beautiful geometric designs unfortunately only a small area has survived.

The inside of the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo.

The elaborate interior of the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo.

Tomb of the last shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919–1980), located in the Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Tomb of the last shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919–1980), located in the Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo.

Rifa’i Mosque
This mosque was built during the Turkish period of Cairo’s history. It was built in front of the Sultan Hassan Mosque and takes the same style of art. It was commenced in 1905 A.D and finished in 1911 AD.

A view of the Citadel from Al Azhar Park

Opened to the public in 2005, the gardens of al-Azhar are reminiscent of historical Islamic gardens, with a blend of modern and traditional elements. The central terraced formal gardens, emphatic use of fountains, Mamluk multicolored stonework, sunken gardens, intersecting waterways and bold Islamic geometry are all integrated into a contemporary site design; cafes are situated at the entrance, playgrounds and scenic overlooks are arranged along curving paths

Before visiting the Museum you will make a stop at Al Azhar Park, Cairo’s newest and perhaps most beautiful green space where you will have a luxury lunch and see quite a different side of the city.

The Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Taken from the stairwell of the Nile Hilton Hotel opposite

Egyptian Museum
This museum houses more than 120,000 precious objects which, in their overwhelming wealth, bear testimony to the art and the culture, history and civilization, daily life and religious practices of the Egypt of the pharaohs down to Graeco-Roman times. The famous collection of Tutankhamun and the room of the ancient Egyptian mummies (additional cost) are two of the big highlights but there are many other special pieces on display.

Gold mask of King Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun's famous burial mask, on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Duration
Our tour will start at 8.30 am when you leave your accommodation and we’ll have you back safe and sound around 9 – 10 hours later. Hotel pick-up may be a little earlier than this but the time will be given to you on reconfirmation.

The tour operates daily at all times of the year.

Inclusions:
All transport by private air-conditioned vehicle
Entrance fees to sites visited
Registered tour guide (who speaks your own language or English) who will assist you in making the most of your tour
Luxury lunch at Al Azhar Park

Exclusions:
Food and drink unless specified
Tips (recommended)
Entrance into the Mummies Room at the Museum (LE100)
Any activity costs not mentioned in our program

Things to note:
Sunscreen, a hat and water are important, even though you will be indoors a lot of the time. Most of our drivers have cold water on board that you can purchase at a small price.
To visit the mosques it is advisable to wear clothing that covers the shoulders, upper arms and legs. Your guide will remind you that you must take your shoes off to go inside.
No photography of any sort is allowed inside the Museum
There are souvenir salesmen at many sites, be polite but firm if you are not interested in purchasing. Ask your guide for assistance if necessary.
If required, wheelchair accessibility should be discussed when booking. A vehicle with wheelchair accessibility can be made available.
We’d really like your feedback so please let us know what you think of all aspects of your tour.

Cost
1 person – US$152 per person
2 – 4 people – US$112 per person
5 – 8 people – US$85 per person
9 – 15 people – US$82 per person
Request a quote for 16+ people
Reduced costs for children 4-12, children 3 and under free

Prices are a guide based on current currency conversion rates and set entrance fees. While we do not expect significant change, we can give you an exact quote at the time of booking.

If you wish to book this tour please quote STT105. You may contact us by email at nilewavetravel@gmail.com or phone +2017 333 8800.

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