- General Information a bout the city :
Few cities of the world have a history as rich as that of Alexandria; few cities have witnessed so many historic events and legends. Founded by Alexander the Great(Iskander al-Akbar) in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Greco-Roman Egypt; its status as a beacon of culture is symbolized by Pharos, the legendry lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria :
(Pharos) was built in the third century BC by Ptolemy I on the island of Pharos. The height of the lighthouse was between 115 and 150 meters, so it was among the highest structures in the world, second only to the Great Pyramids. The lighthouse was built on 3 floors: a square bottom with a central heart, a section octagonal average and above an upper section. And on the top there was a mirror that reflected sunlight during the day and used fire for the night. But it was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323.
- The Library of Alexandria:
was the largest library of the ancient world and the place where great philosophers and scientists of that age came to seek knowledge. Alexandria also hosted, at the time, the largest Jewish community in the world, and the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was written in the city.
In all, Alexandria was one of the greatest cities in the Hellenic world, second only to Rome in size and wealth, and while it changed hands from Rome to Byzantine and finally Persia, the city stayed the capital of Egypt for a millennium.
Alas, the city’s reign came to an end when the Arabs conquered Egypt in 641 and decided to found a new capital to the south in Cairo . (Scholars still debate if this was when the Library was finally destroyed; it is known that the Library was, at the very least, sacked and badly damaged by the Romans themselves in 48 BC, c. 270, and once more in 391.)
Alexandria survived as a trading port; Marco polo described it around 1300 as one of the world’s two busiest ports, along with Quanzouh . However, its strategic location meant that every army on its way to Egypt passed through: Napoleon’s troops stormed the city in 1798, but the British conquered it in the Siege of Alexandria in 1801. The Egyptians under Mohammed Ali took control of the city and rebuilt it, but the Orabi Rebellion in 1881 and massacres of Europeans in the city led the British to strike back and hammer the rebels with the three-day Bombardment of Alexandria, reducing much of the city center to rubble.
Once again, Alexandria rose from the ashes. Its cosmopolitan and decadent lifestyle before and during World War II gave birth to its greatest poet, Constantine P. Cavafy, and was chronicled in Laurence Durrell’sAlexandria Quartet and a series of works by E. M. Forster including Alexandria: A History and Guide (1922), described by some as the best travel guide ever written.
Yet this world, too, took a shattering blow in the 1950s when Egypt’s new fiercely nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized vast swathes of the economy and forbade foreigners from owning or running companies, effectively forcing tens of thousands of foreigners out of the country, including virtually all of Alexandria’s once 150,000-strong Greek community.
Today’s Alexandria is a dusty seaside Egyptian town with an over-inflated population of 5 million, yet its status as Egypt’s leading port keeps business humming, and tourists still flock to the beaches in the summertime. And while much of the city is badly in need of a lick of paint, history both ancient and modern is everywhere if you peer closely enough: the French-style parks and the occasional French street sign survive as a legacy of Napoleon, one of Alexandria’s many conquerors, and the few remaining Greek restaurants and Coffe shops still dominate the cultural scene.
- The weather there :
It is very cold in the winter at the night but it is sunny at the morning ,it is fantastic in the summer specially at night .
- The Transportation :
Alexandria is quite a long city; you can get pretty much anywhere by using the local transportation available along the Corniche.,as also you can use the bus ,the taxi or the tram.
- How to reach to there :
you can travel to Alexandria from any where in Egypt by bus , by train ,by taxi or by car and by Boat but from outside Egypt ,Visemar Lines operates a weekly passenger ferry from Venecia to Alexandria, via Tartus in Syria. Departure time is every Wednesday at 4PM, arriving the following Sunday at 2PM, this is the only way of reaching Egypt direct from Europe. However,unfortunately the ferry have been canceled.
- The Historical monuments there :
- Citadel of Qaitbay,: Ras el-Tin (yellow tram #25), ☎ +20-3-4809144.9AM-4PM. One of the icons of the city at a beautiful location, the fortress overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the city itself. Built by Mameluke Sultan Abdul-Nasser Qa’it Bay in 1477 AD but razed and reconstructed twice since.This citadel was built in 1480 by Sultan Qaitbay on the site of the Pharos Lighthouse, to protect the city from the crusaders who used to attack the city by sea. The Citadel is situated at the entrance of the eastern harbor on the eastern point of the Pharos Island. It was erected on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria. The lighthouse continued to function until the time of the Arab conquest, then several disasters occurred and the shape of lighthouse was changed to some extent, but it still continued to function. During the 11the century an earthquake destroyed the top of the lighthouse and the bottom was used as a watchtower. A small Mosque was built on the top. About 1480 A.D the place was fortified as part of the coastal defensive edifices. Later castle looking citadel was built as a prison for princes and state-man. Now it’s a Maritime Museum.
- Cemetery of Mostafa Kamel: The cemetery includes four tombs dating from the second century BC, all of which are in excellent condition and beautifully decorated. The cemetery bears the name of Mostafa Kamel, one of Egypt’s largest political twentieth century legends. It was he who pronounced the famous phrase: “If I was not born as an Egyptian, I would like to be an Egyptian.”
- Kom el-Shouqafa, Karmouz:. Kom el-Shouqafa is the Arab translation of the ancient Greek name, Lofus Kiramaikos, meaning “mound of shards” or “potsherds.” Its actual ancient Egyptian name was Ra-Qedillies, and it lies on the site where the village and fishing port of Rhakotis, the oldest part of Alexandria that predates Alexander the Great, was located. The underground tunnels of the catacombs lie in the densely populated district of Karmouz to the east of Alexandria. The catacombs were most probably used as a private tomb, for a single wealthy family, and later converted to a public cemetery. They are composed of a ground level construction that probably served as a funerary chapel, a deep spiral stairway and three underground levels for the funerary ritual and entombment. The catacombs are unique both for their plan and for their decoration, which represents an integration of the cultures and traditions of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.”
- Pompey’s Pillar, Karmouz:. An ancient monument, this 25-meter-high granite column was constructed in honor of the Emperor Diocletian in AD 297. The confined area where the column stands also has other ruins and sculptures such as the Serapium oracle. Also beside this area is a very big shopping center for cloth and furniture called “El-Saa3a,”
- Roman Theatre, Kom El-Dikka,: Built in the 2nd century AD, this Roman amphitheater has 13 semicircular tiers made of white and gray marble, with marble seats for up to 800 spectators, galleries and sections of mosaic-flooring. In Ptolemaic times this area was the Park of Pan, a pleasure garden surrounded by Roman villas and baths.
- Montazah Palace, El Montazah: Built in 1892 by Abbas II of Egypt Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last khedive of Egypt. One of the palace buildings, the Haramlek, now contains a casino on the ground floor and a museum of royal relics on the upper levels, while the Salamlek has been converted into a luxury hotel . Parts of the extensive gardens (over 200 acres) are open to the public. There is a entrance fee for the park.
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: , Mansheya. Egypt has a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring it’s military.
- Ras el-Tin:. Not open to visitors, alas.
- Presidential Palace:, Montazah.