Bab Zuweila or Bab Zuwayla (Arabic: باب زويلة) is one of three remaining gates in the city wall of the Old City of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Also known as Bawabbat al-Mitwali during the Ottoman period. It is one of the major landmarks of the city and is the last remaining southern gate from the walls of Fatimid-era Cairo in the 11th and 12th century.

Its name comes from Bab, meaning “gate”, and Zuwayla, as it was the Western Gate of the city that had a trade route for overland travelers with Zuwayla in the Fezzan.

Architecture of Bab Zuweila

The city of Cairo founded in 969 as the royal city of the Fatimid dynasty. In 1092, the vizier Badr al-Jamali had a second wall built around Cairo. Bab Zuweila was the southern gate in this wall. It has twin towers (minarets) which can accessed via a steep climb. In earlier times they used to scout for enemy troops in the surrounding countryside.  In modern times, they provide views of Old Cairo.

The structure also has a platform. Executions would sometimes take place there, and it was also from this location that the Sultan would stand to watch the beginning of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Sometimes the severed heads of criminals would be displayed along the tops of the walls. This was done as recently as 1811, when the severed heads of Mamluks from the Citadel massacre were mounted on spikes here.

The corresponding gate on the northern side of the city was the Bab al-Futuh. It still stands on the northern side of the Muizz street