The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. - It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, and many treasures of King Tutankhamen. -The Egyptian government established the museum, built in 1835 near the Ezbekeyah Garden. The museum soon moved to Boulaq in 1858 because the original building was getting to be too small to hold all of the artifacts. In 1855, shortly after the artifacts were moved, Duke Maximilian of Austria was given all of the artifacts. He hired a French architect to design and construct a new museum for the antiquities. The new building was to be constructed on the bank of the Nile River in Boulaq. In 1878, after the museum has been completed for some time, it suffered some irreversible damage; a flood of the Nile River caused the antiquities to be relocated to another museum, in Giza. The artifacts remained there until 1902 when they were moved, for the last time, to the current museum in Tahrir Square.
The Citadel was fortified by the Ayyubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) between 1176 and 1183 CE, to protect it from the Crusaders. Only a few years after defeating the Fatimid Caliphate, Saladin set out to build a wall that would surround both Cairo and Fustat. Saladin is recorded as saying, "With a wall I will make the two [cities of Cairo and Fustat] into a unique whole, so that one army may defend them both; and I believe it is good to encircle them with a single wall from the bank of the Nile to the bank of the Nile." The Citadel would be the centerpiece of the wall. Built on a promontory beneath the Muqattam Hills, a setting that made it difficult to attack, the efficacy of the Citadel's location is further demonstrated by the fact that it remained the heart of Egyptian government until the 19th century. The citadel stopped being the seat of government when Egypt's ruler, Khedive Ismail, moved to his newly built Abdin Palace in the Ismailiya neighborhood in the 1860s. While the Citadel was completed in 1183-1184, the wall Saladin had envisioned was still under construction in 1238, long after his death. To supply water to the Citadel, Saladin built the 280 feet (85 m) deep Well of Joseph, which can still be seen today. This well is also known as the Well of the Spiral because its entrance consisted of 300 stairs that wound around the inside of the well. Once water was raised from the well to the surface, it traveled to the Citadel on a series of aqueducts. During the reign of al-Nasir Muhammad, the Well of Joseph failed to produce enough water for the numerous animals and humans then living in the Citadel. To increase the volume of water, Nasir built a well system that consisted of a number of water wheels on the Nile, the water from which was then transported to the wall and subsequently to the Citadel, via the aqueducts Saladin had constructed. The improvements to the Citadel's water supply were not Nasir's only additions to the Citadel, which was subject to a number of different additions during the Mamluk period. Nasir's most notable contribution was the Mosque of Nasir. In 1318 Nasir rebuilt the Ayyubid structure, turning it into a mosque in his name. The structure underwent further additions in 1335. Other contributions to the Citadel during Nasir's reign include the structure's southern enclosure (the northern enclosure was completed by Saladin) and the residential area, which included space for the harem and the courtyard. Prior to Nasir's work on the Citadel, the Baybars constructed the Hall of Justice and the "House of Gold."
Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo which encompasses the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George and many other Coptic churches and historical sites. It is believed that the Holy Family visited this area and stayed at the site of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga). Coptic Cairo was a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic era, though most of the current buildings of the churches in Coptic Cairo were built after the Muslim conquest of Egypt.
Islamic Cairo is a part of central Cairo noted for its historically important mosques and other Islamic monuments. It is overlooked by the Cairo Citadel. Islamic Cairo was founded in 969 AD as the royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliphs, while the actual economic and administrative capital was in nearby Fustat. Fustat was established by Arab military commander 'Amr ibn al-'As following the conquest of Egypt in 641, and took over as the capital which previously was located in Alexandria. Al-Askar, located in what is now Old Cairo, was the capital of Egypt from 750 to 868. Ahmad ibn Tulun established Al-Qatta'i as the new capital of Egypt, and remained the capital until 905, when the Fustat once again became the capital. After Fustat was destroyed in 1168/1169 to prevent its capture by the Crusaders, the administrative capital of Egypt moved to Cairo, where it has remained ever since. It took four years for the General Jawhar Al Sikilli (the Sicilian) to build Cairo and for the Fatimid Calif Al Muizz to leave his old Mahdia in Tunisia and settle in the new Capital of Fatimids in Egypt. After Memphis, Heliopolis, Giza and the Byzantine fortress of Babylon-in-Egypt, Fustat was a new city built as a military garrison for Arab troops. It was the closest central location to Arabia that was accessible to the Nile. Fustat became a regional center of Islam during the Umayyad period. It was where the Umayyad ruler, Marwan II, made his last stand against the Abbasids. Later, during the Fatimid era, Al-Qahira (Cairo) was officially founded in 969 as an imperial capital just to the north of Fustat. Over the centuries, Cairo grew to absorb other local cities such as Fustat, but the year 969 is considered the "founding year" of the modern city. In 1250, the slave soldiers or Mamluks seized Egypt and ruled from their capital at Cairo until 1517, when they were defeated by the Ottomans. By the 16th century, Cairo had high-rise apartment buildings where the two lower floors were for commercial and storage purposes and the multiple stories above them were rented out to tenants. Napoleon's French army briefly occupied Egypt from 1798 to 1801, after which an Albanian officer in the Ottoman army named Muhammad Ali Pasha made Cairo the capital of an independent empire that lasted from 1805 to 1882. The city then came under British control until Egypt was granted its independence in 1922..
The souk dates back to 1382, when Emir Djaharks el-Khalili built a large caravanseraiin Cairo under the Burji Mamluk Sultan Barquq; the eponymous khan is still extant. By the time of Barquq, the first Circassian Mamluk Sultan (1382–1399) much reconstruction needed to be done within the walls of the city in order to repair the damage incurred as a result of the Black Death. When Barquq started his madrassa in Bayn el-Qasrayn, markets were rebuilt, and Khan el-Khalili was established. It was also known Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman Empire. Today In addition to shops, there are several coffeehouses ( maqha ), restaurants, and street food vendors distributed throughout the market. The coffeeshops are generally small and quite traditional, serving Arabic coffee and usually offering shisha. The al-Hussein Mosque is also in Khan el-Khalili; Al-Azhar University and its mosque are not far away. Naguib Mahfouz's novel Midaq Alley (1947) is set in an alley in Khan el-Khalili.
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