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Qaitbay Citadel-Rashid


The city that unlocked the Ancient Egyptian secrets, deciphering the Hieroglyphs was the key to understanding ancient Egyptian civilization which was hidden between the blocks of Qaitbay fort, perfectly-preserved and after centuries had passed, the famous Rosetta stone was discovered by the French expedition in 1799. 

The coastal border city, located on the western branch of the Nile, constructed in the ninth Century AD by Harun El-Rashid, and named after him. The city was inhabited by the Ottomans who built prime examples of Islamic architecture. It was an international trade center during the abandonment of Alexandria, until the nineteenth century AD, upon the revival of Alexandria. 

Discovery of Rosetta Stone in the Fort of Qaitbay

The archaeological fame of Rashid (Rosetta) started in mid-July 1799 AD, when the Rosetta Stone was discovered, which turned to be the clue for decoding the ancient Egyptian Language, it is a text written in Greek, Demotic, and hieroglyphic, and the rest was just a matter of time, since Greek was a well-known language. The stone is currently displayed at the British Museum, but a replica is presented in situ. 

The stone was found by chance in the Mamluk Fort of Qaitbay, built by Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay to protect the city from sea attacks, coinciding the architectural style of the citadel he built in Alexandria. Later, Qunsowa El-Ghori reinforced the citadel, and built walls around the city, as means of protection. 

Rashid, the city of trade and economy reached its peak during the Ottoman period, when Alexandria was abandoned. The distinct Delta architectural style can be easily traced in the city, whether in houses or mosques. 

Mosque of Zaghloul

The huge Mosque of Zaghloul, occupied 4000 squared meters, is a fine example of the mosque architecture in Rashid, characterized by its simplicity, and showing the intertwining between Mamluk and Ottoman styles. It is considered as the largest mosque in town, with about 300 columns inside its aisles. 

Islamic Houses

Rashid is considered an open-air museum with Islamic houses, which were usually 3-4 floors high, characterized by its red and black of outer blocks and decorative Mashrabeyas. The houses reflected the local and Islamic traditions, the stables, mills and storehouses occupied the ground floor, while the first floor was customized for men, the second floor for women, and the third (last) floor for women’s entertainment, known as Aghani (songs). The most important examples are: Ramadan House, and Maharem House. 

National Museum of Rashid

In 1952, President Gamal Abd El-Nasser, ordered the conversion of Arab Killy House into National Museum of Rashid, in celebration of its National Day. The museum houses ancient Egyptian artifacts as well as remarkable Islamic artifacts with magnificent Kufic Arabic writing. 

Rashid is coastal border city, located on the western branch of the Nile.