Alexandria is Egypt’s second city and main seaport, located in the Nile Delta just 225 km northwest of the capital Cairo. The city stretches for 32 km along the Mediterranean coast. It is home to about 3.2 million inhabitants.
In 331 BC Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great. The city developed rapidly thanks to trade, which was extremely favored by its advantageous location on the Mediterranean coast.
The Ptolemies, who ruled over Egypt for the following years, retained Alexandria’s capital status. During their reign, Alexandria became one of the most famous cities in the ancient world. It was here that Caesar, and then his successor, Mark Antony, were fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of the last queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty — Cleopatra.
From about 288 to 283. BC on the island of Pharos, a lighthouse was built at the entrance to the port, 120m high, which belongs to the 7 wonders of the world, as well as the library of Alexandria, which was the largest in the world, with about 700,000 scrolls. In the XIV century, the lighthouse was completely destroyed during an earthquake. A few years later, the military fortress of Kite Bay was built from its wreckage, which still stands on the site of the world’s first lighthouse.
In 30 BC, Octavian annexed all of Egypt to the Great Roman Empire. But even during the Roman period, Alexandria was the second largest and most important city after Rome.
Throughout late antiquity, the Middle Ages and up to the present, Alexandria remained an important urban and cultural center, and gave the political primacy to Cairo as the main harbor.
Alexandria offers attractions and entertainment for all tastes, so everyone can find what interests him the most. Lovers of antiquity should visit the many bazaars and walk the narrow alleys of the old part of the city, located between the two port authorities, visit many museums and the Alexandria Library. For entertainment lovers there are restaurants, cafeterias, nightclubs and casinos.
In Alexandria, you will find many interesting places to enjoy the mild climate and beautiful sandy beaches all year round.
Four years ago, archaeologists discovered the Pharos Lighthouse underwater, and diving tourists can see one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And soon vacationers will be allowed to view other monuments of ancient civilization and sunken palaces under water.
Among the most interesting sights of Alexandria:
Fortress Kait-Bay (15th century), built on the ruins of the Pharos lighthouse. Near it, it is worth visiting the Hydrobiological Museum, in 50 aquariums of which fish, molluscs and corals live, caught in the Nile, the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. And the skeleton of a 17-meter whale, washed ashore in 1936 east of Alexandria, has become the museum’s greatest attraction.
Catacombs of Kom-el-Shokaya (II century), the largest Roman underground burial in Egypt, located in three floors (the lower two are flooded with water). In the architecture of the burial, elements of the Roman, Greek and Egyptian styles are combined, and the chapel is «guarded» by a dragon and a jackal-headed Anubis.
Column of Pompey (3rd century), erected in honor of Emperor Diocletian, is made of red granite. Height — 25 meters. Next to it there are three sculptures of sphinxes and underground galleries for burials of sacred bulls — apis.
The Abu Al-Abbas Mosque (XVIII century) is the largest and most popular in Alexandria, built over the tomb of the Muslim saint Abu Al-Abbas Al-Morsi (1219-1287). The mosque was completely rebuilt in 1944 and is considered a masterpiece of building art.
Also worth a visit: Tombs of Anfushi (III century BC), Roman amphitheater (II century), Greco-Roman Museum, which presents more than 40,000 exhibits of different styles of art from Ancient Egypt, the period of the Ptolemies, Romans and Greeks. The Museum of Fine Arts, which regularly hosts exhibitions of Egyptian and foreign artists, and the «Alexandria Biennale», the Museum of Royal Jewels, collected by the ruler of Egypt in the middle of the last century, Muhammad Ali and his successors. The museum is housed in the former royal palace.
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