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Mohammed Ali's Egyptian Palace


Did you know that Mohammed Ali lived in Egypt almost 200 years ago? It's true! Okay, okay it wasn't the same Mohammed Ali. This one wasn't the boxer we know today. He was a great ruler of Egypt back in the early 1800s and he lived in an amazing house.

The house, isn't your average house, though. It is a fortress with high walls made of stone. It is still standing today in a part of Cairo called Islamic Cairo. It's called the Citadel.
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The Citadel stands as a powerful landmark of Egypt's past

Mohammed Ali didn't build the fortress. In fact, he was one of the last rulers, or sultans as Egyptians call them, to live in it. It was made over 1,000 years ago, by a sultan named Salah al-Din. He built it to protect the Egyptians from invaders. But as you can imagine, it has changed a lot since then. Every time a new sultan came into power and moved there, he decided to change things around, kind of like the way each US president redecorates the White House!

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Jasmine perched on the Citadel wall in front of a spectacular view of Islamic Cairo.

But instead of changing the color of the walls or picking out new furniture, the sultans would make entirely new buildings. Inside the walls there are many different palaces and mosques. Mohammed Ali built a mosque with a beautiful dome on the outside. But on the inside it is really plain! There is clock hanging up that was given to Mohammed Ali by King Louis-Phillipe of France. They made a trade: Mohammed Ali gave King Louis a sculpture, called an obelisk, in exchange for the clock. But guess what? Mohammed Ali got tricked. The clock was broken! Believe it or not, it still doesn't work. It has never been fixed.

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larger view
High ceilings and hallways of the Citadel were beautifully designed.

Today, sultans no longer live in the Citadel. But it isn't abandoned. The regular everyday people pray in the mosques. Some of the palaces have been turned into museums. And families sit in the grassy areas and have picnics. It is like an ancient Disneyland. Just don't expect to see Mickey Mouse!


p.s. - Please e-mail me at


Kavitha - Big, Black Cloud over Cairo

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