Citadel

sights / Military

Citadel information

Opening hours
09:00-15:00 Sun-Thu, open later for concerts
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Lonely Planet review

The Citadel anchors the northwest corner of the Old City, its imposing stone walls confronting the six lanes of traffic on Sharia ath-Thawra. Built by the Seljuks between 1076 and 1193, the citadel was further fortified by the Zangid ruler Sultan Nur al-Din and by the Ayyubid Sultan Saladin in the 12th century to resist Crusader attacks. Modifications were added by the Mamluks and Ottomans, and during the French mandate it became a prison, which it remained until 1985.

Concerts are held frequently in the citadel grounds, especially during the summer evenings, when you might see anything from a symphony orchestra to jazz bands. The Jazz Festival is held here in July.