From per person
Built on the Lighthouse of Alexandria’s ruins, the Citadel of Qaitbay was one of the Mediterranean’s most important fortresses. It witnessed war and peace and is a rare testament to Mamluk architecture. Lovers of history and strategy games, the Citadel of Qaitbay awaits!
Experience the Citadel of Qaitbay at your own pace with an e-ticket and a captivating self-guided audio tour on your smartphone.
Receive your ticket by email, download the app and the audio tour on your phone, prior to your visit, and travel back in time to experience the glory of the Citadel of Qaitbay.
Put on your headphones and explore the Death Chamber, discover the Mill Room, the Congregational Mosque and the Observatory through the power of storytelling and learn historical information and uncommon stories and anecdotes from the past. The content of the tour is the result of in-depth research, distilled into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and informative. The audio tour can be used repeatedly at any time, before or after your visit.
This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into the structure that came to occupy the ruins of the Ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria and which defended the Eastern Harbour for centuries. You will find yourself relating to your surroundings in an entirely original way.
Overview of the Citadel
In 1477, Sultan Qaitbay made a detour from his original pilgrimage route to visit Alexandria and the Delta. The Sultan had been on the throne for nine years; however, he had never been to Alexandria. So, he made it count by remaining in the city for three full days, roaming and inspecting its streets and neighborhoods. While examining the island of Pharos, which once hosted the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, he ordered the construction of his cannon-equipped tower [borg]. With this decision, Qaitbay became the start of the most extensive military project in the history of Mamluk Alexandria! The Citadel remained active from its inauguration in 1479 to 1882; it was bombarded in the 19th century and left in ruins for more than fifty years.
Inclusions and Exclusions
- Adult entry ticket to the Citadel of Qaitbay
- Self-guided audio tour on your smartphone (Android & iOS)
- An activation link to access your audio tour
- Offline content (text, audio narration and maps) to avoid roaming charges
- Live Guide
- Smartphone or headphones
- Food and drinks
- App not compatible with Windows phones
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
- Charged smartphone
There is no meeting point. The self-guided audio tour is designed to start at the entrance of the Citadel of Qaitbay (Qaitbay St., 21556 Alexandria).
Directions to starting point
The easiest way to get there is on foot walking along the coastal El-Gaish road or by car. There is ample parking space.
The Open Court:
Passing through a tunnel-like corridor you will emerge directly into the open court, where you will take note of the nineteenth-century soldiers’ rooms and the main tower, part of the expansion works of Mohammed Ali Pasha, the founder of the modern state of Egypt.
The Death Chamber:
This chamber was the last line of defense for the fortress. You will marvel at the ingenious design of two murder holes designed to provide refuge to the defenders, but also deliver targeted blows to the intruders.
Climb the staircase of this round naval observatory and marvel at the sea views. Imagine the times the defenders of the fortress stood there, watching approaching ships and raising the alarm.
Recommended visiting hours
Every day 09.00 am – 5.00 pm
Know before you book
- This is a combination of a downloadable self-guided audio tour for your smartphone (accessible through our app) and an entry ticket for the Citadel of Qaitbay.
- No live guide or meeting point provided.
- After booking, you will receive an email with further instructions on how to access and download your audio tour. Please check your email spam folder as well.
- The course of the visit may be modified and special restrictions may be imposed. The visitors must always adhere to the guidelines of the site.
- Book per device to be used, not per participant.
- An Android (version 5.0 and later) or iOS (version 15.0 and later) smartphone is required. The audio tour is not compatible with Windows Phones, iPhone 6/6 Plus or older, iPod Touch 6th generation or older, iPad 4th generation or older, iPad Air 1st generation, iPad Mini 3rd generation or older.
- You will need storage space on your phone (100—150 MB)
- Free and reduced admission tickets do not have skip-the-line privileges and can only be acquired at the ticket booth on-site.
- The exterior of the Citadel of Qaitbay is wheelchair accessible, but the interior contains stairs and is not accessible throughout.
Know before you go
- Download the ticket(s) & audio tour while on WiFi prior to your visit. Mobile signal may be weak at the site(s).
- After booking, you will receive an email with further instructions on how to access and download your audio tour. Please check your email spam folder as well
- Ensure that your smartphone is fully charged and that you bring your earphones
- Make sure that you have your identity or your passport with you
- Due to high temperatures, bring with you sun protection
- The ideal time to visit the Citadel of Qaitbay is early morning or early evening
Download the app
To take this self-guided tour, you will need to download the Clio Muse Tours app on your iOS or Android device. Enjoy your tour!