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Fortress of the Babylon of Egypt (Old Cairo)

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  • James Mathews
    Fortress (Babylon of Egypt (Old Cairo) Of the Military works on the confines of the Byzantine Empire, those of the fortress of Babylon of Egypt, now called Old
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2012
      Fortress (Babylon of Egypt (Old Cairo)

      Of the Military works on the confines of the Byzantine Empire, those
      of the fortress of Babylon of Egypt, now called Old Cairo calls for
      some special attention. This fortress of the late fourth -- early
      fifth centuries was re-constructed and stands near the well known
      Right Bank of the Nile River. This area is near the head of the river
      delta and commands two essential points valuable to the age;

      1—Passage across the Nile River utilized by the Caravans from North
      Africa to the East and return;

      2.--The river itself as passage for war as well as commerce.

      A bridge of boats was thrown across the river which provided access to
      fortress from the Left Side of the Nile. Two towers were constructed
      facing the river and were unusual and deserve some detail coverage.
      Each of the round towers were some 90 feet in diameter and sixty-six
      feet apart. The towers are a part of the curtain wall which surrounds
      the city, and each has a large stone foundation. The construction
      consists of some small stone which has been squared and then laced
      into place with courses of brick. The strength of the tower walls is
      derived from an unusual and very strong design. Each tower consists
      of two concentric walls which were placed some fifteen feet apart and
      then strenthened with eight radial ribs which connect to both walls.
      This design divides the area between the walls into eight equal parts.

      The radial ribs provide to the tower the strength of a wall some
      twenty-eight feet thick, but does not require nearly the material of
      such a normal wall. An additional advantage is that there are now
      eight smaller compartments inside the tower as well as the central
      room. Should an attack be pressed against the tower and break through
      one compartment, it would be much easier to repair.

      The fortress further contains five smaller corner towers to strengthen
      the curtain wall. On the side of the fortress away from the river
      there are three additional small towers. On the narrow side of the
      fortress facing upriver are two larger towers which are centered in
      the curtain wall and which forms the main gateway to the city. The
      fortress is 900 feet in length and about 700 feet at its widest
      point. Above the two towered gateway is the Church of Almuallekan.
      Within the city are the following religious buildings: Church of St.
      George, Convent of St. George, Church of St. Barbara, Church of Abu
      Sarga (St. Sergius), Synagogue (ANC. Church).

      References:

      --Vide "Babylon of Egypt", Sydney Toy, British Archaeological Journal,
      1937;
      --Sidney Toy, "Castles, Their Construction and History," Dover Pub.,
      New York, 1984, Pages 43 and 44 (illus.)

      Respectfully Submitted;

      Marcus Audens

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