Fortress of Babylon Approx. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

The remains of the fort are Cairo's oldest original structure. Indeed, Cairo owes its existence to this fort. The only remaining part of the Fortress of Babylon is a tower which was built in 98 AD and originally overlooked an important port on the Nile before the river changed course. The Coptic Museum is at the foot of the tower and its exhibits cover Egypt's Christian era between 300 and 1000 AD. Several old Christian churches are built into or on the walls of the fort.

At the time the Persians first built the fort, around the sixth century B.C., it stood on the cliffs, near the river. When the Romans took possession of Egypt, they recognized its strategic importance on the Nile and used the old fort for a while. However, the Roman Emperor Trajan later relocated it to its present location because the problems of water delivery. At that time, the river ran close to the new site, but the Nile's course has moved some 400 yards to the north since then.

Courtesy of Egypt Tourism Board