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Visiting Saladin Fortress

Situated in a privileged place on the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba, Saladin Fortress was built by Saladin (Salah ad-din al Ayyubi) in 1170. He chose to build it on the Faraon Island (“the Pharaoh Island”) on the road crossing the Sinai to the north of the Gulf of Suez, 250 m from the bank of the Taba. This strategic spot controls roads between the three banks of the Gulf of Aqaba. The fort covers an area of approx. 2200 m (65 m x 32.5 m). Throughout different eras, the citadel enjoyed a great impotence. Remains of a Byzantine church from the time of Justinian VI were discovered at the site. There is evidence that it continued to prosper throughout the Islamic Period when pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia increased and throughout the Coptic Era. Enclosed within the fortress are: a fortified entrance; a mosque; a residence for the governor of the citadel; a number of cells for guards; three rooms; a water supply system; supply stores; and a big meeting room. The whole citadel was restored in 1986.

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