Fort Qaitbey

sights / Military

Fort Qaitbey information

Alexandria , Egypt
Eastern Harbour
adult/student E£25/15
Opening hours
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The Eastern Harbour is dominated by the fairy-tale-perfect Fort Qaitbey. Built on a narrow peninsula by the Mamluk sultan Qaitbey in 1480, it sits on the remains of the legendary Pharos lighthouse.

The lighthouse, which had been in use for some 17 centuries, was finally destroyed by an earthquake and was in ruins for more than 100 years when Qaitbey ordered the fortification of the city’s harbour. Material from the fallen Pharos was reused, and if you get close to the outer walls you can pick out some great pillars of red granite, which in all likelihood came from the ancient lighthouse. Other parts of the ancient building are scattered around the nearby seabed.

The fort has been renovated and is now open to the public. It makes for a pleasant walk and the view back across the harbour is spectacular, with a foreground of colourful bobbing fishing boats and in the distance the sunlike disc of the new library. In the base of the fort there’s a museum (E£5) with plenty of stuffed-and-mounted sea life; across the street is a small aquarium (E£5), which is just a hallway lined with fish tanks. Just west of the fort is the lively Anfushi Fish Market.

From Midan Ramla, it’s a 30- to 45-minute walk along the Corniche. Otherwise, take yellow tram 15 from Midan Ramla or flag down any of the microbuses barrelling along the Corniche. A taxi should cost E£5.