Taba's Salaheddin Citadel set to open doors in July
Salaheddin Citadel, located on island close to well-known Red Sea beach, will open to public next month after undergoing restoration
Nevine El-Aref , Monday 4 Jun 2012
After a year of extensive restoration Salaheddin Citadel on Pharaoh Island, 250 metres from Taba Beach in Sinai, opens to the public in July.
The restorations include repairing all eroded and corroded surfaces, restoring the fence that surrounded the citadel and replacing fallen or missing blocks with new ones that match the others.
A new lighting system makes the citadel appear like a crystal gem in the middle of the Red Sea. They’ve also installed lighting along the visitor paths.
Documentary films and photo exhibition relate the history of the citadel in the visitor centre.
To make visiting the site easier for tourists, during his latest inspection visit, Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim suggested constructing a closed tunnel to connect the citadel to the Taba beach, which boasts beautiful coral reefs.
He also calls on the Tourism and Antiquities Police to tighten security measures in the Sinai, considering some of the recent instability in the area.
The Salaheddin Citadel on Pharaoh Island is the second fortress in Egypt, among the many that Salaheddin El-Ayyubi built to protect the Islamic Empire from Crusades.
Salaheddin Citadel in Taba is as beautiful and important as the highly-visited fortress seen along the highway that runs behind Al-Azhar in Cairo.
Built in 1171 AD, the citadel is strategically located on Pharaoh Island on a steep, difficult-to-climb hill high above sea level - and with a beautiful, blue sea view. The citadel played an important role in protecting the Sinai Peninsula from invasion during the crusades.
It was capable of a stand-alone of defense in the case it was blocked. It counted on an external wall as the castle’s first-line of defense. Towers and defensive walls were part of the citadel’s strategy. Water tanks built into the rock provide protection and sustenance, and are the best choice in the past, present and future.
On an interesting and more domestic level; a bakery, mill and bathroom were found, aside from the expected furnace for producing weapons, meeting room and soldier dorms.
Pharaoh Island attracts all types of tourism; eco, cultural and safaris.
With beautiful views of the warm, Red Sea, it hosts some of the most beautiful untouched coral reefs.
Tours visit both the citadel and the neighbouring Valley Taiwibh, which has ancient Egyptian inscriptions of the early Egyptians who lived in Sinai, as well as those inscriptions of Arab Nabataeans of the second century BC.