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Posted on Jun 14, 2010 in War College

Egyptian National Military Museum: From the Time of the Pharaohs to the Modern Day

By Peter Suciu

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The massive walls of the Saladin Citadel of Cairo offer an impressive home to the Egyptian National Military Museum.

Even to those who never set foot in its sand, Egypt is known around the world for its many ancient wonders, and on the plains outside of Cairo are of course the famous pyramids and the equally famous Sphinx. Yet, there is much to the living city of Cairo as well, and in addition to the Nile River and the Egyptian National Museum, there is the massive fortress complex, known as the Cairo Citadel or more accurately as the Saladin Citadel of Cairo – and sometimes also the Mohamed Ali Citadel. This was build by the Ayubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) in the later part of the 12th century, and later refortified by Mohamed Ali in the 19th century.

This fortress is located on the Muqatta hill near the center of Cairo, and today it offers several fascinating points of interest, including three mosques, the most famous of which is the Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha, which was built between 1828 and 1848. This is one of the largest mosques in modern Egypt. The two other mosques include the 14th century Mosque of Al-Nasir Muhammad and the 16th century Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, the latter being the first mosque built in the region in the Ottoman-style.

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For those interested in military history, the museum is also home to the National Military Museum, which chronicles Egyptian history from the ancient era of the Pharaohs through the Middle Ages and Islamic conquests, through the colonial era and of course to the modern day. It features an impressive collection of arms and armor through the ages, while the outside section of the museum is flanked in modern weapons used (albeit without much success) in Egypt’s recent Middle Eastern conflicts. A large selection of the museum is devoted to Egypt’s early victories against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where they drove deep into occupied territory before being driven back.

The museum is open daily and offers free admission.

 

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