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The City of Alexandria

The city of Alexandria Egypt history is full of many ancient civilizations and cultures such as the Ptolemies, the Greeks, and the Romans.

Alexandria has been the cultural center of antiquity for many centuries until its destroying.

In this article, we will show you an overview of the history of Alexandria and its most important archaeological and tourist attractions.

City of Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a port city on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast on the western arm of the Nile Delta. Numerous monuments, especially from Greek-Roman times, attract visitors to this city, even though the glorious times are long gone.

The climate is very pleasant even at the height of summer so that the wealthy class from Cairo spends the summer here.

While it is almost impossible to make a comparison with Cairo in terms of architecture and monumental heritage, Alexandria may be one of the few cities in the world to boast such a rich history and full of historical events and battles between Alexandria and other countries that wanted to conquer this beautiful city.

The foundation of Alexandria city 

Alexander the Great founded the city in 331 BC, some 1400 years before Cairo was founded. It soon became one of the most prosperous and rich cultural cities of the ancient world. Today Alexandria shows relatively little of its iconic past.

The succession of raids and sieges, natural disasters, as well as repeated reconstruction on itself have led to the disappearance of much of the ancient city, which remains a site of great charm, with immediate access to the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean.

When Alexander the Great took control of Egypt in 331 BC, he decided to build a new capital to connect the Nile Valley to the sea and his native Greece.

The city he founded and personally arranged, took his name and was the main political seat until the Muslim conquest of the Fatimids and Shiites in 642 AD.

City of Alexandria Egypt

The history of Alexandria ancient city.

Founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC. It was the capital of the province of Egypt in the Ptolemaic-Roman period and subsequently became one of the most famous cities in the entire Greek world.

The city was laid out on a network of east-west and north-south roads by the architect Democrats.

The most important buildings of that time were the lighthouse of Pharos and the Bibliotheca Alexandria, the latter was the visible sign of the outstanding importance of Alexandria in science and literature.

After the death of Cleopatra VII (and the end of the Ptolemaic period, 30 BC), Alexandria lost political importance but remained an intellectual and cultural center in the Mediterranean.

Neither the historical library of Alexandria nor the Lighthouse has survived our days. As well as the palaces dating back to the Greek-Roman period and other important buildings, both were destroyed by a series of disasters.

Earthquakes and tsunamis changed the conformation of the coast and its shape, causing the lighthouse to collapse and the royal palace to fall into the sea.

The great library was instead destroyed by a fire; however, beyond its architectural heritage, the importance of Alexandria is given by its role as a crucible to a great number of peoples and ethnic groups.

The city became an important seat also with the advent of Christianity and its spread throughout the country.

The seat of the Coptic Orthodox pope is still in Alexandria today and it has been noticed that Muslims live with Christians in the same city without any problems as the united brothers since Egypt is always a seat that unites Muslims with Christians.

Although this city has always suffered the consequences of wars or natural disasters during its long history, more recently the center of the city was almost destroyed in 1882, during a three-day bombardment that marked the British conquest of Egypt. However, the city recovered and became a lively and cosmopolitan port again from the end of the 19th century until the middle of the following century.

This period in Alexandria’s history is admirably described in Lawrence Durrell’s novel “The Alexandria Quartet”, in which the city is depicted as a lively and decadent place with “five races, five languages, twelve faiths”.

This chapter in the history of the city ended with the advent of the nationalist and socialist revolution of the Free Officers in 1952.

This new government forbade non-Egyptian people from owning property or business, which led to the exodus of most of the Jewish community in the city, as well as the dismantling of the multicultural society that had animated it for centuries.

Alexandria is very popular among the locals as a holiday destination, especially in the hot summer months, but is relatively rarely visited by western tourists.

Well, pharaonic monuments are missing, but Alexandria is probably the most suitable place to get an impression of life in the Greco-Roman period (which is otherwise only possible in Egypt in the northern oases of the Western Desert ).

Alexandria Egypt Map, the main sights of Alexandria

1- Qaitbay Citadel

Qaitbay Citadel - City of Alexandria Egypt

The Citadel is located in the extreme north of the headland in the city of Alexandria and is easily recognizable from afar.

It was built in 1477 under the Mameluk Sultan el-Ashraf Saif ed-Dīn Qāitbāy (reigned 1468-1496) on the site of the ancient lighthouse and use of the existing building material as protection against the crusaders attacking from the sea, later destroyed and rebuilt twice.

In 1480 the fortress was extended by fortress walls, in which prisoners were also accommodated.

Read the full article about the Qaitbay Citadel


2- Library of Alexandrina 

Alexandria library - City of Alexandria Egypt

The library of Alexandria is located directly at the Corniche. It was built approximately on the site of the ancient library. The reading room and small exhibitions can be visited.

In the library, there is also a small archaeological museum, where among other things Greek floor mosaics are exhibited, a manuscript museum, and the Sadat museum.

Read the full article about the Alexandria Library


3- Kom El-Dikka

Kom ed-Dikka is located in the city center on an area of 40,000 m² there is a Roman theatre, cisterns, baths, and residential buildings. In the east of the excavation area is the House of Birds with mosaic floors from the time of Hadrian.

The City of Alexanrdia

4- Pompey’s Pillar 

Pompey's pillar - City of Alexandria Egypt

 Pompey’s Pillar is located in Karmūz in the western part of the city. The simple, 25-meter-high column is one of the most photographed monuments in the city and was erected in 297 AD in honor of Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305).

There are several sculptures of sphinxes and a scarab nearby. There are remains of ancient temples and other buildings on the site.

Read the full article about Pompey’s Pillar


5- Catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa 

The catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa is the largest Roman burial place – were once laid out as the private tomb of a rich family and later continued as a public cemetery.

A spiral staircase leads to the original burial chapel. On three levels there are numerous burial chambers.

On the surface, there is an open-air exhibition with various building fragments, sarcophagi, an Islamic gravestone, the grave from Stagni (Wardian), and the famous Tigran grave.

The City of Alexandria

Read the full article about the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa


6- Montaza Palace

Montaza-Palace - City of Alexandria Egypt

Montaza Palace in the city of Alexandria Egypt, was built-in 1892 by Abbas Hilmi II. Montaza Royal Garden is distinguished by its beautiful gardens and royal palaces.

Although the gardens are part of the more than 350-acre grounds of the great royal house known as the Montaza Palace. the Montaza Royal Garden occupies more than half of the property.

Read the full article about the Montaza Palace 

7- Alexandria Corniche 

There is nothing better than enjoying the sound of waves and inhaling iodine from the sea. This is what you will be able to do when you visit Alexandria Corniche, and you can also sit, Chillout, meditate, or sit in one of the restaurants or cafes overlooking the sea.

The City of Alexandria

Museums in Alexandria, Egypt

1- Alexandria National Museum

City of Alexandria Egypt

About 1,800 works of art are presented on several floors. On the ground floor, Pharaonic, on the first floor Greek-Roman and the second floor Coptic and Islamic testimonies are presented. Among the finds are also statues from the more recent underwater excavations.


2- Greek-Roman Museum

City of Alexandria Egypt

Numerous exhibits from Greek-Roman and Coptic times from the third century BC to the third century AD were presented. In the courtyard, the temple of Batn Iḥrīt (Theadelphia) from the Faiyūm was rebuilt.


3- Archaeological Museum in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The museum mainly exhibits finds from the Greek-Roman, Christian, and Islamic periods. Highlights include two valuable floor mosaics. 


4- Museum of the Jewels of the Royal Family

City of Alexandria Egypt

Located in the Palace of Princess Fatima el-Zahraʾ in the Eastern District of the city). Among the exhibits are the jewels of the Egyptian Royal Family, but no coronation insignia. Photography is not permitted.

5- Cavafy Museum 

Cavafy Museum, as its owner is called. Cavafy is one of the most famous Greek poets who lived in Alexandria.

The museum documents the history of this poet, where he wrote his most prominent poems in that house.

After his death, this house turned into a museum that includes the poet’s most important possessions, The museum is located in “Constantine Cavafy Street”, branching from the “Mahatat Al Raml” area in Alexandria.

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About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.
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