In AD 98 the Roman emperor Trajan enlarged an existing fortress here, called Babylon, likely a corruption of Per-hapi-en-on (Estate of the Nile God at On), a Pharaonic name for the area. What remains are two round towers of Babylon’s western gate. These were part of riverfront fortifications, and the Nile would have lapped right up against them. Emperor Trajan also reopened the canal that ran through this town connecting the Nile with the Red Sea.
Visitors can peer down around the southern tower, where excavations have revealed part of the ancient quay, several metres below street level. The Greek Orthodox Monastery and Church of St George sit on top of the northern tower.