Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. in the delta of the Nile River in northern Egypt, the city of Alexandria soon took advantage of its excellent location (on fertile land, strategically located as a port city, etc.) to become one of the great metropolises of antiquity, becoming the true cultural heart of the Ancient World. Nowadays, it is cataloged as the main port of the country and is the capital of one of its governorates (also called Alexandria).
Alexandria became for the sailors, writers or adventurers who have felt in their own flesh the magic that the city of Alexandria exudes. Halfway between the culture of the Middle East and Europe, this great Egyptian city has been a cultural and commercial center of reference for all the peoples who inhabit the Mediterranean for thousands of years.
In Alexandria, it is possible to look for the ruins of the ancient lighthouse or the library that managed to fascinate the scholars of antiquity. But it is also possible to walk through modern neighborhoods such as Corniche, a clear example of European influence in this Egyptian city.
Today, Alexandria boasts of being one of Egypt’s cultural centers. All this is accompanied by a first-class cuisine in which seafood and Arabian food are served in restaurants like Fish Market to make you live an unforgettable experience visiting one of the most fascinating corners of the world.
What to see in Alexandria
Historically, the city was known for its iconic lighthouse. The Pharos of Alexandria was a lighthouse built in the 3rd century BCE and after almost 2000 years it was one of the longest surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, before being destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th century.
Built atop the ruins of the famous lighthouse is the 15th century defensive fortress known as the Citadel of Qaitbay on the Mediterranean Sea Coast. Fort Quaitbay, built by the Sultan of the same name, has been excellently restored, and discerning visitors may be able to spot ancient granite from the lighthouse amongst its walls.
Alexandria’s other fascinating historic monuments include its library, which was home to almost a million documents in its heyday in the 3rd century, which was destroyed under the Roman Empire. The contemporary center known as Bibliotheca Alexandrina, built in the early 2000s, does well to capture the spirit of the historic educational center.
Sadly, due to both nature and human hands, the ancient remains of this historically great city are not as visible as in Egypt’s other cities. Alexandria is still, however, a popular tourist center for its beautiful beaches and the fascinating history that can still be felt here – its museums are well worth a visit.
This column is one of the largest of its kind in the Roman Empire. Its approximately 25 meters high and the hundreds of tons it weighs altogether give good evidence of this, so it is a visit that should not be missed in any way. In addition, very close by are the Catacombs of Kom el Shogafa, another space of singular beauty in the area.
Extensive gardens, views over the Mediterranean and an architecture that takes the best of the architectural heritage of cultures such as Turkish or Florentine. The palace is a jewel of modern Alexandria and can be visited for hours both in its interior rooms and in its external gardens to enjoy a great experience.
This amphitheater is unique in its kind in all Egypt, proof of the importance the city had for the Romans. Discovered in the 20th century, its good preservation ensures one of the great visits to the city and allows you to discover incredible mosaics capable of transporting you to the past as remote as it is fascinating.