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  Salah El Din Citadel
Salah El Din, the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt during the 12th century, built a fortress over looking Cairo in 1176 AD. The original fortifications were later torn down by Sultan El Nasir and Mohammed Ali to make room for their own mosques and palaces. For almost 700 years, to the death of Mohammed Ali in 1849, nearly all Egypt's rulers lived in the Citadel, held court, dispensed justice and received ambassadors. Within the citadel's towering walls are the Mohammed Ali Mosque (built in the image of the blue Mosque in Turkey).Mohammed Ali, the Albanian, came to Cairo as a Turkish officer under the Ottoman Empire and in 1806 named himself ruler of Egypt. Mohammed Ali was very much against the Mamluk's (Egypt's rulers before the Ottomans) and had most of their mosques and monuments destroyed. When he set about building his own mosque within the walls of the Cairo Citadel, he broke with all previous traditions and designed it in a manner unprecedented in Egypt's Islamic history. The area of the mosque itself takes the shape of a rectangle divided into two squares, or plots. On one of these plots is a courtyard common to many large mosques. On the other plot is the prayer hall situated within the mosque's walls . The massive volume of the prayer hall is closed from above by a vaulted ceiling made of one large central dome surrounded symmetrically by smaller semi-domes. Owing to its shear size, the prayer hall is a beautiful and inspiring sight. Upon entering, visitors are requested to wear slippers over their shoes or to remove their shoes as is customary Muslim practice. Above, numerous lamps hang from the ceiling flooding the hall with light. The decorations and the design of the mosque are very intricate and typically Turkish. The mosque is believed to be the most magnificent Islamic monument in Egypt. Location: Citadel. 3 km southwest Midan el Tahrir Midan Salah el Din, 3km southeast of Midan el Tahrir

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