teradesa.com Salah El Din al- Ayyubi Fort was built by Salahuddin al-Ayyubi in 1176 AD-1183 AD when he came to power in Egypt. Salahuddin al-Ayyubi, known in the West as Saladin, was a Kurdish warlord. He became the sultan of Egypt and Syria by establishing the Ayyubid Dynasty in 1174 AD-1193 AD.
Al-Ayyubi was completed by Sultan An-Nasir Muhammad (1310 AD-1341 AD) of the Mamluk Dynasty. Salahuddin al-Ayyubi fortress was surrounded by walls 7 meters high and 3 meters wide, which made it very sturdy against enemy attacks from outside.
Muhamad Ali Pasha when ruling in Egypt (1805 AD- 1848 AD) perfected the construction of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fort again by building a beautiful mosque in the fort complex. The mosque was later famous as the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque which was built within 18 years, starting from 1830 AD to 1848 AD. The mosque then became the icon of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fort.
In addition to the Muhammad Ali Mosque, within the Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fortress complex there is also a military museum, police museum, gem museum, and Ibn Qalaun Mosque.
From a distance when walking down Salah Selim Street, where the Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fort complex is located, the magnificent Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque can be seen.
The closer you get to the Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fort complex, the more you can see the architectural beauty of the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque with two towering minarets. The two towering minarets have a height of 85 meters each.
The architectural beauty of the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque is very similar to the architectural beauty of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque in the city of Istanbul, Turkey.
The Muhammad Ali Mosque in Cairo can be called the twin of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Once we arrived in front of the Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fortress complex with a beautiful view of the prominent Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque, the atmosphere did not seem too crowded.
Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of foreign tourists. That afternoon, there were only a few foreign tourists. Visitors are generally local residents.
“Now it is indeed quiet because of the pandemic. Especially this winter, Covid-19 is getting more violent,” said a souvenir seller who claimed to be named Khaled while offering his wares. “Before the pandemic, tour buses carrying foreign tourists used to park here. Now look, not a single tourist bus has parked here,” Khaled continued.
“Thank you for buying souvenirs. Now the sales turnover has plummeted,” Khaled said, accepting 10 Egyptian pounds, around Rp 9,000, for a souvenir with a picture of the pyramids.
Soon after chatting briefly with Khaled and buying his wares, the ticket seller at the counter was waiting. At the counter, the price for an adult ticket is 180 Egyptian pounds (around Rp 155,000 per person).
After the ticket payment process to enter the fortress is complete, the first destination is the Muhammad Ali Mosque area at the front of the fortress complex.
Upon arrival at the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque area, several local and foreign tourists were busy taking memorable photos with the beautiful mosque in the background.
Staring at the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque, you can immediately see and imagine the high level of human civilization that built such a magnificent mosque. It also depicts the power of that era, and of course the historical value it bequeathed.
When the mosque was built in the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Egypt was known as the most advanced country outside Europe.
Muhammad Ali Pasha was able to fight the British and French colonials who tried to occupy Egypt. The very solid walls that surround the fort and at the same time protect the power that is in the fort, shows the power of Egypt at that time.
Being in Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fortress feels like being in a city within a city. It shows the economic progress of Egypt at that time which was known to be based on the cotton industry.
Muhammad Ali Pasha, who is also known as the father of Egyptian renewal, took advantage of the country’s economic progress in his day by building a magnificent mosque in the Salahuddin al-Ayyubi Fort complex.
After visiting the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque, the next destination was the police museum. There are various weapons and uniforms of the Egyptian police from time to time. Generally, the Egyptian police weapons on display date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The weapons are various types of swords and knives. In addition, ancient steel caps are also on display.
Visiting the police museum, immediately imagined the progress of Egypt at that time which had a variety of equipment. The picture of Egypt’s progress at that time was also evident when visiting the military museum.
The museum displays various forms of Egyptian military weapons from time to time. In fact, Egyptian military equipment used in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars is also on display.
In front of the military museum, Russian-made MiG-17 and Sukhoi-7 fighters used in the Arab-Israeli war are displayed. Also on display are Russian-made MiG-21 fighters that were the mainstay of Egypt’s fighter squadron in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
There are also armored vehicles, such as Russian-made T-54, T-55, and T-62 tanks, which were also the mainstay of the Egyptian military in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. “These tanks were involved in fierce ground battles with Israeli tanks in the Sinai Desert in the 1973 war,” said a member of the Egyptian military, Salama Ibrahim Salama. He is one of the officers guarding the military museum.
Ibrahim Salama then points to the fierce figure of the Russian-made MiG-21 fighter plane. “More than 200 MiG-21 fighters made the first attack on Israeli military barracks throughout the Sinai Desert at noon, October 6, 1973,” Ibrahim Salama said, recounting one of the early fragments of the Egyptian-Israeli war.