The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities recently conducted the last test to fire the Ramadan cannon again after a pause of nearly 30 years, from the square of the Police Museum in the Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi in Cairo as it was in the past, after the Ministry restored it to start again, starting from Tomorrow, Tuesday, the first day of the holy month, indicating to the fasting people about the time for iftar.
Professor Iman Zidan, Assistant Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for the Development of Museums and Archaeological Sites, explained that the works of restoring the cannon came within the framework of the ministry's plan to raise the efficiency of tourism services in museums and archaeological sites, including the Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, pointing out that the cannon will strike again at sunset and at iftar time, throughout the whole month of Ramadan, to ensure the preservation of the archaeological heritage of the castle, while at the same time keeping pace with the use of modern technology by firing a laser beam next to the cannon to reach a far distance.
Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the works of repairing the cannon included removing the rust layer formed on the cannon body and cleaning it from the inside.
Dr. Osama Talaat, head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Sector, said that there were many stories about the truth of the story of Ramadan Cannon, but all of them confirm that it originated in the city of Cairo, specifically in the Citadel of Salah al-Din in Cairo.
One of the stories narrates that the Ramadan cannon dates to the reign of the Mamluk Sultan Khaskadam when he wanted to try a new cannon and arrived at it, and the firing of the cannon coincided at sunset on the first day of Ramadan in 1467 CE, so people thought that the Sultan had deliberately fired the cannon to alert the fasting people that the time for iftar had come. Then the masses of the people went out to the seat of government to thank him for this good innovation that he had introduced, and when the Sultan saw their pleasure, he decided to proceed with the firing of the cannon every day to mark the time for iftar.
And there is another story that says that some soldiers during the reign of Khedive Ismail were testing one of the cannons, and a shell was launched from it that rang out in the sky of Cairo, and it happened that this was the time of the sunset call to prayer on the first day of Ramadan, so people thought that the Khedive followed a new tradition to announce the time for iftar. They started talking about it, and when Hajjah Fatima, daughter of Khedive Ismail, learned what had happened, she liked the idea, so she asked the Khedive to issue a decree to make the firing of the cannon a new Ramadan habit, and at that time it was known as Al Hajjah Fatima cannon, and later its firing was added to the Suhoor and official holidays.
It is believed that the cannon has been changed more than once and moved to more than one place, and it is currently displayed in the square of the Police Museum in Salah al-Din Citadel in Cairo, and its specifications are a Krupp brand cannon produced in 1871 AD, which is an iron pipe resting on an iron base with two large wheels made of wood with iron frames. It was operated by two soldiers, one to put gunpowder into the crater and the other to fire the shell.
Although 30 years have passed since its suspension, it has remained in the hearts and minds of Egyptians, as it has become a well-established tradition and an aspect of the holy month.