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Gates of Cairo: the capital’s fortress that defies time

Deluxe Tours Egypt > Egypt Articles > Gates of Cairo: the capital’s fortress that defies time

More than ten and a half centuries ago, specifically in the sixties of the tenth century, 966 AD, and as soon as the rule of the Gawhar Al Siqilli settled in Cairo he surrounded it with a huge mud-brick wall that had completely disappeared, interspersed with eight gates. Until his reign, and according to the American historian “Louis Mumford”, it was The desert is the natural wall of Egypt. But it was not the same for the capital, whether it was Fustat, al-Askar, or al-Qata’i ‘, which means that the wall that the Gawhar Al Siqilli began to build was of strategic necessity, so before it the Egyptian cities did not know the walls except for some ports and holes.

The purpose of the gates of Cairo was to secure the Fatimid state from any aggression or external danger that it might face, and Jawhar al-Siqilli had tightened its fortification completely, so that he dug a trench surrounding it to the north of the northern wall, to turn Cairo into a fortified city that no one could enter. As for the gates, it was spread Along the wall, there are two gates in the north, they are Bab al-Futuh (the door of acceptance), Bab al-Nasr (Bab al-Ezz), and two doors in the east, which are Bab al-Barqiya, “Bab al-Barqah,” or “al-Tawfiq,” or “al-Gharib,” and Bab al-Qaratin, “Bab al-Mahrouq.” And Baban Western, which are Bab al-Qantara, Bab al-Sa’ada, and two South Baban, and they are Bab Zuweila (Gate of the Metwally), and Bab al-Faraj

There is no doubt that the remains of these ancient doors to this day indicate the splendor of Islamic architecture, and Cairo and its gates aroused the admiration of European travelers in the eighteenth century. British historian Stanley Linbull says about it. And its women are Poplar of Heaven, her land is fair, and her Nile is magic, and its wind is cool, and how is Cairo not like that when it is the mother of the world

It was clear that the purpose of that wall and those gates was to make Cairo al-Muizz private property of the ruling state, according to the way “Mahdia” and “Mansouriya” were built in Tunisia, so that it would be a city for members of the royal family, which is only allowed to enter those who serve them. Employees, soldiers, servants, and employees, which requires the existence of a city for the common people of the market, represented in Fustat in the south, so it was a fortified city surrounded by walls and doors, to be a barrier and a protective shield for the Fatimids against the danger of the common people of Fustat.

Badr al-Din al-Jamali, the Emir of the armies, ordered the rebuilding of the Cairo wall and the expansion of the city when he settled there in the period from 480 to 485 AH, that is, between the years 1087 to 1091 AD, and these gates continued to protect Cairo throughout the era, and perhaps that is why it was always restored, renewed and added. , Including the walls and the castles above them, and despite their historical importance as a unique model for Islamic war fortifications, which made them fall within the arts of Islamic warfare architecture of the Fatimid era in Egypt, only three doors remain, they are Bab al-Nasr, Bab al-Futuh, and Bab Zuweila.

Bab Zuweila

Bab Zweila, Al Muizz Street, Morz Street

Bab Zuweila is famous for being the gate under which the heads of the messengers of Hulagu, the leader of the Tatars, when they came threatening to Egypt, were hung, and the last of the Mamluk sultans, Toman Bay, was hung on its door, and it is located in the southern wall of Fatimid Cairo, built in 1092 AD, its name goes back to the Zuweila tribe, one of the Berber tribes Which came with the army of Jawhar al-Sicilian from the west, and it was old in the first wall that Jawhar al-Sicilian built, and it is located at the corner of Sam bin Noah and Sabil al-Akkadin, and it consisted of two adjacent openings. , And it consisted of a single hole.

This door consists of two rectangular towers, the edges of which are in the form of semi-circles, above each tower a room reserved for soldiers. The door opened a seat for military observation, and when Cairo joined the capitals with one wall, this seat was used to monitor the markets, and the door leads to a square arcade by opening two windows at the tail of the northern tower connected to its great mosque, and this door is considered one of the three remaining doors of Fatimid Cairo.

Victory Gate (Bab Al Ezz)

Bab El Fotouh, Cairo travel guide, Cairo attractions, Islamic Cairo, Islamic cairo walking tour

The first doors were built by Badr Al-Jamali, and it is located in the northern wall of Cairo, in the middle of Al-Muizz Street, built in 1087 AD, consisting of two large square-shaped towers, on which some war machines such as swords and gears were inscribed on them, there is a back ladder inside the fort that reaches the upper floor of the two towers This staircase consists of a stone pillar, a staircase wrapped in a spiral shape, as for its ceiling in the form of an ascending basement, and Bab al-Nasr was considered the commercial door of the city of “Cairo”, so the caravans of merchants would pass through it and collect taxes from it.

The gate has a rectangular opening, 6.50 meters high and 4.70 meters wide, at the top of this opening a straight arch, topped by a cuff, then an arched knot of docked cymbals, followed by a plaque inscribed with the date of the gate’s foundation in Kufic script, and the gate’s arch is decorated with a shield and a prominent sword, and controls entry and exit It includes a wooden armored door from two deaths, and after the French campaign entered Egypt in 1798, some architectural modifications were introduced to the door, especially in the upper rooms. Two sides are to defend the interior, as Napoleon Bonaparte called each tower in the north wall the name of the officers responsible for its security, and those names are inscribed near the upper floor of the gates, including the name of Thomas Prosper Julian, aide to Camp Bonaparte in Egypt.

Bab Al Futuh (Iqbal)

Bab El Fotouh, Cairo travel guide, Cairo attractions, Islamic Cairo, Islamic cairo walking tour

There is Bab al-Futuh on the northern side of the current wall that Badr al-Din al-Jamali built, next to al-Hakim Mosque in al-Jamaliyya, and it was built in 480 AH, i.e. 1087 AD. As for the Wall of Jawhar al-Sikali, it was close to Ras Hara “Bain al-Siarj”. When al-Jamali renewed it, Babi established Al-Nasr and Al-Futuh are in their current location and linking them to a wall that connects them with roads and basements on the back and the inside of the wall.

Bab al-Futuh consists of two large towers, each tower has two chambers, one for defense and the other for observation, and the entrance opening is knotted with a semicircular arch, below it a huge door consisting of two armored wooden shutters, topped by a stone lintel, and the door reaches a rectangular iwan, with three entrances deep in its sides. Al-Futuh Gate to a square iwan, on either side of which are entrances of the guard soldiers. Its ceiling is a shallow dome built on spherical stone pendentives.

Gate of Sultan al-Ghuri


King Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qanswa bin Abdullah Al-Jaraksi, famous for Sultan Al-Ghouri, built two doors, the door of the Cotton Agency called the Bab Al-Sultan Al-Ghouri, which is located in Khan Al-Khalili in Al-Jamalia, and it was built in 917 AH or 1511 AD to protect the agency, and this door consists of a recessed stone that covers it A civil necklace with a muqarnas chest, with descending tails, and the word of God in the middle.


The judge’s house gate

As for the door of the judge’s house, which dates back to the nineteenth century AD, it is located in front of the Sultan Qalawun group in Jamaliyeh, and it is attributed to Muhammad Ali Pasha the Great, although there is no evidence to confirm this, and it was named by that name because it was the residence of the judge of the Sharia court who took the seat of Prince Mamai Next door

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