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Alexandria, Egypt
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Alexandria is the shining pearl of the Mediterranean, and the beacon radiating its culture and heritage to the world at large. Alexandria was found by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, was the largest city and main port of Egypt.  The city of Alexandria is one of the largest and most populated in Egypt and has a population of more than four million. It is the second largest city in Egypt,  known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean",  has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern ; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo. Situated along the Mediterranean Sea, the city is also the largest sea port in Alexandria. It is a popular destination for cruise line passengers arriving at the Alexandria Port and having 12 hours to 2 days time for sightseeing in Egypt.

Beyond Cairo, the delta spreads out like a giant flower head segmented by branches and channels of the Nile. The delta plain is fertilised by tons of alluvial deposits from the river and is cultivated with such care that it looks like a vast kitchen garden. Cotton, rice, fruit, vegetables and flowers constitute the wealth of this region. At the edge of the desert, extensive cultivation is developing on land stolen from the sand. The ancient capitals of Sais and Tanis have disappeared without trace giving way to villages and towns crowned with mosques and bustling with life from morning until dusk.

Alexander The Great
Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and founded the city of Alexandria. Alexandria then became the capital of the Ptolemy Pharaohs, and therefore holds a number of ancient Greek and Roman sites. This great young leader came to Egypt to fight against the Persians, who had invaded Egypt a few years before. In 333 BC Alexander entered Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt, where he was welcomed and hailed as a King by the Egyptians. He was a quite clever diplomat, as he showed great respect and veneration to the gods of ancient Egypt, especially Ptah, the patron god of Memphis.

Afterwards Alexander decided to visit the famous Oracle Temple of Amon, located in the oasis of Siwa, in order to consult the seer about his destiny. He was marching parallel to the Canopic branch of the Nile when he stopped to rest at an old Egyptian village called "Re-qdt” (its Greek name is “Racotis”) between the Mediterranean Sea and the Lake of Mariott (its location today is the area of Tel Bab Sadrah or Karmouz). Alexander decided to build a town there, which became the chosen site of Alexandria. He had an architect named "Dinocratis" plan it – it was the birth of a great new city. 

He continued on to Siwah, to consult the oracle and then left Egypt to fight the Persians in Asia. After his triumphal campaigns, Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC without ever seeing the city that bears his name. In fact it wasn’t until the reigns of Ptolemy I, (Soter - the Saviour), and his successor Ptolemy II (Philadelphus) that the building of the city was completed and it became the main capital.

Alexander the Great, on his arrival in Egypt, wanted to make it his capital and to leave a lasting imprint on Egypt’s coast. The city of Alexandria was born and for several centuries its lighthouse, the first ever in the world, cast its light over the Mediterranean Sea. Capital of arts and learning and favoured by kings, queens, scholars and men of letters, Alexandria provided a refuge for one of the most famous passionate love affairs of all time, that of Anthony and Cleopatra.

Following the Arab conquest, when Alexandria lost is status as capital in favour of Cairo, the city retained its distinctive habit of looking more towards the Mediterranean than towards Egypt. With its wealth of Greek, Jewish and Armenian communities and as the preferred haunt of foreigners, Alexandria seemed to turn her back on the hinterland. Although few descendants of these communities still remain today, the city has retained a special atmosphere from that period in its history.

Alexandria History

Alexandria during the Ptolemies
Alexandria was the renowned capital of the Ptolemies, with numerous monuments. History of Alexandria took a tragic turn at the time of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian. In a struggle with the other successors to Alexander, his general, Ptolemy (later Ptolemy I of Egypt) succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria, where it became a famous tourist destination for ancient travelers (including Julius Caesar).As the seat of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, the city of Alexandria became one of the greatest cities of the Hellenistic world only second to Rome in size and wealth. One of the earliest well-known inhabitants of Alexandria during the Ptolemaic reign was the geometer and number-theorist Euclid.

Roman reign in Alexandria
History of Alexandria states that the city passed formally under Roman jurisdiction in 80 BC. Julius Caesar dallied with Cleopatra in Alexandria in 47 BC, saw Alexander's body and was mobbed by the rabble. From the time of annexation onwards, Alexandria seems to have regained its old prosperity, commanding an important granary of Rome. This fact led Augustus to place it directly under imperial power. Even as its main historical importance had formerly sprung from pagan learning, Alexandria acquired fresh importance as a centre of Christian theology and church government.

Post-Roman history of Alexandria
In 616, Alexandria was taken by Khosrau II, King of Persia. In 641 the Arabs captured it decisively after a siege that lasted fourteen months. During this age, Alexandria faced a lot of destruction. The library and its contents were destroyed in 642 during the war. The Lighthouse was destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th century, and by 1700 the city was just a small town among the ruins. Later Mohammed Ali, the Turkish Governor of Egypt, began rebuilding the city around 1810, and by 1850 and Alexandria got back its former glory. In July 1954, the city was a target of an Israeli firebomb campaign.

Alexandria the touristic city
Alexandria is simply fabulous when it comes to tourism. Tourism is all about exploring new lands and experiencing the exotic and Alexandria has lots to offer. Tourism has evolved in Alexandria in a big way to cater to the legions of travelers who come to visit this land every year. The prime spots have been developed to suit the purposes of tourist destinations, sightseeing trips and tourist cruises. Hospitality industry has received a never-before boost making Alexandria one of the most sought-after and tourist-friendly places in entire Egypt. Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and is known as The Pearl of the Mediterranean. The city exudes an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern. The ambience and cultural heritage, along with an exotic Orient flavor, is truly captivating and attracts travelers from all over the world. Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of the Graeco-Roman Egypt. This was also the center of learning in the ancient world. From the 19th c, Alexandria became the focus for Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. No wonder, it has evolved as an ideal tourist destination. In a word, Alexandria is a city to explore at random.

Tourism in Alexandria means exploring the archaeological sites of the ancient times or sunbathing on the tranquil beaches. Discover the fascinating world preserved in the libraries and museums of the city or dance the night away in the nightclubs and discos. Where else will you get such a combination between old and new?

There are golden sun-kissed beaches stretching from east to west where you can spend a perfect laid-back afternoon. The beaches of Maamura, Montaza Assafra, Miamy, Sidi Bishr, San Stefano, Ibrahimia and Shatby lie along the seafront boulevard. Tourism in Alexandria means more. So, come and explore Alexandria, the desert city and its saga.

Alexandria Sightseeing & Main Attractions
Visitors to Alexandria will find a number of great things to see and do. A shortage of fun and excitement is something that will never plague you in Alexandria. The following are a few of the different places you can go while touring the city.

Qaitbay Fort / Citadel of Qaitbey
The Qaitbey Citadel is a fortress located on the edge of the Mediterranean, and was built on the ruins of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria. This fortress is seated upon the exact location of the Lighthouse of Alexandria which was completely eliminated by several earthquakes over the centuries, beginning in the 800s and continuing to the eleventh century. By the fourteenth century the entire site had been destroyed and the Mameluke Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay decided to use the location as a defensive fort.

A castle was constructed on the location, with a mosque contained inside of it, and it continued to work its defensive wonders well into the 1800s. The Citadel of Qaitbey did experience years of decline and neglect, but was taken in hand by the Egyptian Supreme Counsel of Antiquities within the last century and is now fully restored and open for visitation. Though the Citadel of Qaitbey was initially constructed as a defense against the Ottoman Turks it eventually fell into their hands, and they actually maintained the building quite well.

Later the French were able to defeat the Turks and, in turn, took possession of the building, and in the late 1700s were astounded to find that some of the weapons used during the Crusades remained within the Qaitbey Citadel’s walls. Later enhancements to its defenses included cannons and strengthening of the ramparts. When Mohammed Ali became the ruler in Egypt during the early 1800s the Citadel of Qaitbey received a great deal of attention, improvement and restoration.  Again however the city of Alexandria came under attack in the late 1800s and a British bombardment damaged the structure quite badly. For nearly half a century afterward the Citadel of Qaitbey, Alexandria was ignored. Finally, in the mid-1900s it was converted into a museum and then fully restored. The fort has for centuries stood guard over the bay and endured the battering of the White Sea, the Arabic name for the Mediterranean.

Ras al-Tin Palace
To the west of the fortress is where one of the most important events in the history of modern Egypt took place. It was here that Farouk signed his abdication papers bringing the monarchy to an end. Along nearby beaches lie small boatyards where craftsmen build luxury wooden boats for rich Gulf emirs using little in the way of tools.

Anfoushi Quarter
Situated between the fort and the palace, this area was formerly the seamen’s quarter particularly notorious for its brothels. These have now closed but visitors strolling through the popular narrow streets can seek out pleasant cafes decorated with ceramic tiling and excellent fish restaurants where diners choose the very fish they wish to eat.
The Tombs of Al-Anfoushi
These five Ptolemic tombs, from the third century B.C., were discovered in 1901 A.D.

Roman theatre (Kom el Dikka)
At Kom Al-Dekka, near the Graeco-Roman Museum, this Egypt tourist attraction is considered unique in Egypt for it has 12 semi-circular marble tiers and the theatre is in good condition. Situated close to the city centre station, this site has been under excavation since the start of the 1960s. Successive phases have revealed various public monuments situated at the heart of the ancient city  a theatre, public baths, water tanks and a residential quarter. At the entrance to the site can be seen the statues fished from the sea beside Qaitbay Fort by the archaeologists under Frenchman, Jean-Yves Empereur. A new museum, devoted to mosaics, has been under construction since 2002.

Kom el-Shuqafa Catacombs
At the top of the hill lies the entrance to the Kom al-Shuqafa Catacombs dating from the first and second centuries AD. They were discovered by chance at the start of the twentieth century when the ground gave way under the weight of a donkey and the poor creature fell more than ten metres into a hole. History does not relate whether the animal survived but its fall did lead to the uncovering of more than three hundred tombs laid out along an underground network organised around a vast rotunda.

Pompey's Pillar
So named in the middle ages. It is a granite pillar, over 25 metres high, and built amidst the ruins of the Serapuim, in 297 A.D., in honour of Emperor Diocletian. This is the largest Roman cemetery in Egypt. It is a three levels, and cut into the rock to a depth of 100 feet. Dating back to the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., it is a blend of Pharaonic and Roman art. Thirty metres high and built from Aswan pink granite, the Pompey Column is thought to have been a present from the people of Alexandria to Emperor Diocletian who renounced his intention to destroy the city and slaughter the inhabitants following a rebellion. The majority of the remains found around the column can be seen at the Graeco-Roman Museum. Pompey’s Pillar stands alone now, but it was once flanked by many similar neighbors and it somehow withstood the destructive forces of many centuries. Within the Serapeum would have been legions of religious texts and papyrus as well as the galleries where the many generations of Apis bulls resided. In fact, excavations have discovered three of the bulls remains. Many visitors take in the enormous Arab cemetery when making a visit to the lovely site of Pompey’s Pillar.

Al-Shatby Necropolis
Built along lines of the old Greek houses, it is comprised of a doorway, a corridor and two chambers, dates back to the 3rd century B.C., and lies north of Saint Mark's College.

The Tombs of Mustafa Kamel (Rushdy)
These four subterranean rock-hewn tombs, from the 2nd century B.C., are distinguished by their bright colours and relief inscriptions that tell of the daily activities and religious beliefs of the deceased.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina
When the world lost the original Library of Alexandria it was truly a tragedy since it housed some of the most well-known and earliest manuscripts in the world, in fact some books and works disappeared forever in the fire. When the new Library of Alexandria, or Bibliotheca Alexandrina, opened its doors in 2002 it was if the world could finally recover from that much earlier loss.

The goal of the New Library of Alexandria is to once again become the most important collection of books and manuscripts in the known world, and to work at recreating what was lost. The designers created enough space to hold more than eight million volumes, as well as a special conference center and distinct individual libraries for the blind and for children’s literature.The architects’ design features a huge, 160-metre long cylinder which faces out to sea. Made of glass and aluminium, it is divided into bevel-edged sections. Inside, one hundred papyrus-shaped columns of oxidised copper support the vaulted ceiling and dominate the 70,000 m2 reading room. The building also houses a geodesic dome accommodating a lecture hall, planetarium equipped with Imax screen and museum of archaeology. The basement contains almost eight thousand ancient manuscripts and rare books, all catalogued and digitized and available to consult in the reading room.

Alexandrian Study Centre
The centre was created in 1990 with the aim of retracing the face and topography of the capital of the Ptolemies, of Alexander (332 BC) and of Cleopatra (30 BC). The most highly publicised discovery has been that of the remains of the Alexandria lighthouse. The dream of its uncovering almost remained unrealised: in 1993, concrete screed was due to be tipped into the sea at the extreme west of the bay at the foot of Qaitbay Fort in order to strengthen its foundations. For the Alexandrian Study Centre it was therefore a race against time when its team hauled a red granite bust out of the waters of the Mediterranean. It was the first piece rescued from the water and many others were to follow – thousands of columns, capitols, fragments of an obelisk dating from the reign of Sethi I and colossal statues amongst others. Elsewhere in Alexandria, the centre has also brought a necropolis and magnificent mosaics to light. The City of Cleopatra is bit by bit emerging from the earth.

Discovery of the Alexandria lighthouse
Since 1990, a team of French and Egyptian researchers directed by the Hellenist scholar, Jean-Yves Empereur, has been excavating the city of Alexander the Great. The team’s most highly publicised discovery has been the remains of the Alexandria lighthouse which have been lying for centuries under eight metres of water close to Qaitbay Fort. In addition to blocks of stone once belonging to the Seventh Wonder of the World, the diver archaeologists have to their surprise discovered a genuine “rubbish dump” of pre-Ptolomeic antiquities including fragments of a Sethi I obelisk, fourteen sphinxes and a collection of statues. Over two thousand blocks have been recorded lying in an area of more than two hectares. Some pieces have already been extracted from the silt and removed from the water. The team now faces years of hard work ahead.

Following is a list of some of the best museums in Alexandria, Egypt:

The Hydro-Biological Institute and Museum
Located at Al-Anfushi, near Qait Bey fortress, this museum houses a rare collection of fish and marine life.

The Graeco-Roman Museum
Houses many collections of rare Greek and Roman relics and coins - about 40,000 pieces, from the 3rd century B.C. to the 7th century A.D., the most important being the "Tanafra" statues.

The Royal Jewelry Museum 
Originally the palace of Fatma al-Zahra'a in Zizinia, it is an architectural masterpiece. Its many rooms and halls contain many rare paintings, statues and decorations, as well as a priceless collection of jewels of the Mohammed Ali Dynasty.

The Museum of Fine Arts
Houses collections of sculptures, paintings, and architectural works. Exhibitions by contemporary foreign and Egyptian artists are often held there. Furthermore, the museum organises the Alexandria Biennial, every two years, to exhibit the arts of the Mediterranean countries.

Visiting all the wonderful attractions in Egypt can be quite exhausting, so if you need a break from your sightseeing the Gardens of Alexandria are the perfect places to relax and enjoy yourself:

The Montazah Palace Gardens
Though the gardens are a part of the more than three hundred and fifty acre grounds of the large royal home known as the Muntazah Palace, the Montazah Royal Gardens take up more than half of the property. The palace was constructed in the 1800s by Abbas II, and though additions have been made to the impressive structure (including two hotels) the majority of the area is free to use by the people of the city. These gardens cover an area of 370 feddans and contain trees, palms, and flowers. There is also a museum, several natural bays and beaches, as well as a complete tourist centre, a hotel, restaurants, bungalows and a children's park 4.5 feddans in area.

The Antoniadis Gardens
These lovely gardens contain beautifully arranged trees and flowers, as well as several Grecko statues in marble, and the Antoniadis palace.

The Shallalat Gardens
A central garden in the eastern part of the city centre, it is of a special character and is distinguished by its high and low levels and waterways.

Beaches of Alexandria 
The fine sandy beaches of Alexandria are very popular whether bordering the Corniche in the city itself or further along the coast to east and west. In all they stretch for over 140 km. In summer, city-dwellers from Cairo flock to Alexandria to make the most of the beaches. To escape the crowds on the beaches close to the city, it is better to head for those in outlying areas. The beaches at Montazah lie at the foot of the palace of Khedive Abbas with its amazing architecture worthy of Walt Disney. The 150-hectare park surrounding the palace is a favourite place for Alexandrians to stroll.

A walk along the corniche is not to be missed. The Egyptian crowds have regained possession of Alexandria from foreigners. The city is now the preferred holiday destination of city dwellers from Cairo. Families and sweethearts stroll along the sweeping curve of the corniche enjoying an ice cream. Baskets of freshly caught fish and shellfish are on display. Old men mend their nets dreaming of Marseille “where the fish jump out of the water of their own accord”. In short, everyone in their own way makes the most of life along the corniche.

The cafes of Alexandria
Featuring vast rooms hung with old-fashioned paintings and large tarnished mirrors and grand terraces facing the sea, Alexandria’s cafes are classics of their sort, almost a trademark of the Mediterranean city. Old Alexandrians, who assert that they are the “real thing” as their family has been here (at the very least) since the time of Alexander the Great, pass the time smoking and watching the sea, indifferent to the hubbub. When the wind blows too strongly, they go inside and begin endless games of backgammon or dominoes. Either that or they spend hours immersed in the newspaper. In the meantime, their wives enjoy the delights of tea and cream cakes in the patisseries on Saad Zaghloul Square. It is enough to make one wonder whether the English ever left Alexandria.

Things to do in Alexandria 
Apart from visiting the major tourist destinations in Alexandria, there are other things to do in the city which make for a wholesome holiday experience. If you are wondering about the things to do in Alexandria, then we can assure you that you will be pampered with options galore. Alexandria in Egypt offers a wide array of options in terms of entertainment, nightlife and shopping.  After a hard day's work you can unwind amidst a dazzling nightlife in Alexandria. If you want to enjoy some live music with haute cuisine and exotic drinks Birchmere Music Hall and Bandstand is the place to be in. It has played host to country and bluegrass artists and folk, jazz, rock, gospel, and alternative musicians. Famous artists like Garth Brooks, Jonatha Brooke, Jerry Jeff Walker, Crash Test Dummies, Shawn Colvin, Joe Sample, and John Hiatt perform at this venue. Shopping is a major attraction among the other things to do in Alexandria. Alexandria Mall offers a rich shopping experience. You can enjoy a delightful shopping as well as a sumptuous dining out experience in the Alexandria Mall. Alexandria is a city to explore at random. It's as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it is to see the sights.  

Alexandria Weather
Alexandria weather shows characteristics of typical tropical desert climate which is hot, dry summers with moderate winters. The days are commonly warm or hot and nights are cool. Alexandria has only two seasons, a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. Variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds differentiate the seasons. To sum it, Alexandria features a pleasant weather and if you are traveling during the winter, it is surely going to be a delightful experience for you.

Alexandria, by the virtue of being situated in the north, has been blessed with relatively cooler temperatures during the summer. This has eventually made the city a popular resort. The area around Alexandria is the wettest in Egypt and receives about 200 millimeters of precipitation per year. The months of November, December and January receive the maximum rainfall ranging from 34.6 mm. to 52 mm. The four months of June, July, august and September receive very little rainfall; occasionally June ad July go without any rain and Alexandria has relatively high level of humidity.The sea breezes help keep the moisture down to a comfortable level. There are other elements in the weather which are climatically very much Egyptian. A phenomenon of Egypt's climate is the hot spring wind that blows across the country and the winds are known to Europeans as the sirocco and to Egyptians, as the khamsin and the winds usually arrive in April but occasionally occur in March and May. These sandstorms, often accompanied by winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour, can cause temperatures to rise as much as 20° C in two hours. Sand storms are rare in Alexandria and are most likely to occur in spring. They usually last for a day or so.

Means of Transportation in Alexandria
Alexandria Overview also speaks of the transport system of the city. The El Nouzha Airport located at 7km from the city is the only airport in Alexandria. Misr Station is the main railway station in Alexandria. The rail tracks stretches from this station to Abu Qir. Tram runs throughout the city. Alexandria is very well connected with roads. There are four highways: The International coastal road, the Desert Road, the Agricultural road, and the Circular road or the Turnpike. Buses, mini-buses and taxis run all over the city.

Getting There
The mystical land of Egypt has beckoned travelers from all around the world since time immemorial. Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and a very beautiful place to holiday. This city boasts of some exotic historical monuments and places which are worth watching. Alexandria enjoys good air connectivity with major destinations across the globe. Getting to Alexandria in Egypt by Air is no problem at all. Being one of the prime locations in the Egyptian tourist map, Alexandria receives good air traffic at its international and domestic airports. You can fly to Alexandria from most of the African, Asian, European and North American cities. The airports of Alexandria are served by some of the fist class flights from different locations around the world. One can also reach Alexandria by flying to Cairo and then opt for a connecting flight from Cairo to Alexandria. You can also reach Alexandria via sea, rail or bus route.

If you are planning a trip to Egypt you have probably scheduled some time in Alexandria, but with our specialized assistance you can be sure to see the most important and finest sites within the entire area. Come and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!