Rosetta, also known as Rashid, is the city of magic and imagination, where the sea meets the river, where the glory of history meets the present in a mesmerising way.
The city bears many secrets and glorious history that surrounds every part of it. In ancient Egypt it was called Bolbitine and was famous for manufacturing war wheels.
This city was able to counter the Fraser expedition alone. This expedition was an operation by the Royal Navy and the British Army during the Anglo-Turkish War in 1807.
But local people believe that this led to the catastrophe of the city later on, since Muhammad Ali Pasha, during his reign, was afraid of resistance from this town, as they were able to defeat the British army, whereby he converted the routes of trade to Alexandria, to undermine the power of the city.
The castle was built by the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay in the 15th century AD and was occupied by the French army during their campaign against Egypt in 1799, a few days after the battle of Abukir and they named it Julian’s Fortress.
In that particular place, the Rosetta stone was discovered, which deciphered the hieroglyphic writing. After the French army took control of the fortress, and during its restoration, the military force led by Lieutenant Bouchard discovered the Rosetta stone inside the citadel. It is likely that those who built the fortress at the time of the Mamluks had brought it from another place (possibly the Temple of Sais) and used it to build the castle.
The stone was a royal decree issued by the priests in memory of Ptolemy the Fifth, and thus the three writings of hieroglyphics, demotic, and Greek, in celebration of the coronation of him as a king and his order to exempt temples from taxes.
The Citadel of Qaitbay has two floors, the first for gun holders and the second for arrow holders. They also placed on the doors of the castle containers of boiled oil, in case enemies approached the door, they would pour the oil on them, and then launch burning arrows as the oil helped spread fire over the rest of the attacking army.
Rashid’s architecture is quite different from the architecture of any other city. The houses were built of black and red stone. They determined how the first floor will be built according to the profession of the house owner. Merchants built a place for storing grains on the first floor and army men built a reception room and an office for their guests.
This house witnessed the love story of the French leader Menou and the Egyptian woman Zubaida, a resident of Rashid. This house is the home of Zubaida, the wife of the French campaign leader in Egypt Menou. Menou loved Egypt and Egyptians and he wanted to marry an Egyptian woman, but he actually fell in love with two women. The first one was the daughter of the mosque’s sheikh, and the second was Zubaida, the daughter of one of the traders in Rashid.
However, when the sheikh knew that Menou wanted to marry his daughter, he made one of his disciples marry her. Therefore, Menou decided to marry Zubaida, after he became a Muslim.
Then Menou left Egypt with Zubaida, and when he and their son died, people believe she returned to that house, but no one knows for sure what happened.
The house consists of four floors. It also has two doors; the small one was for daily use and the large door was for guests.
Since the father and grandfather of Zubaida were merchants, the first floor was a place to store grain. The second floor was a “salamlk”, the men’s floor.
The third and fourth floors were “haramalk”, floors designated for women. In the roof of the house was the so-called “shakhshikh”, which is a hole in the ceiling made of glass to allow the light to enter the two floors of the haramalk.