Tue, July 10th, 2012 - By

Spotlight on Alexandria, Egypt


Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, lies on the Mediterranean coast and is the country’s largest seaport. It’s a crucial industrial centre, directly en route to the Suez canal pipelines. This city is also very important for tourism as, amongst its other modern and ancient attractions, it’s where the new Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) is situated. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria was situated here, as well as the Middle Age Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa. Recent archaeological harbour excavations have revealed an even more ancient, pre-Alexander the Great city of the Ptolemaic dynasty, called Rhacotis.

Originally founded by Alexander the Great (circa 331 BC), Alexandria remained Egypt’s capital until the Muslims captured it in 641 AD. In more recent history, due to Alexandria’s position between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and the Egyptian cotton trade, the city became one of the world’s premium trading centres.

The city experiences hot, humid summers, so January and February may be some of the best months to visit for sightseeing, as they’re the coolest.

The 2003 Bibliotheca Alexandrina, based on the modern-day revival of the ancient Royal Library of Alexandria is one of the main visitor attractions. The Alexandria National Museum in Tariq Al-Horreya Street, is housed in an Italian style restored palace. It depicts the history of Egypt through Alexandria. The Graeco-Roman Museum, the Royal Jewellery Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts are also amazing.

For a mix of musical styles, the Alexandria Opera House provides Opera, Ballet, Arabic and Classical Music.

The Port of Alexandria on the Nile Delta, between Mariut Lake and the Mediterranean Sea, was formed by two converging breakwaters. It is very interesting to visit, as is the nearby Alexandria Aquarium by Qaitbay fort.

The museum is housed in the old Al-Saad Bassili Pasha Palace, who was one of the wealthiest wood merchants in Alexandria. Construction on the site was first undertaken in 1926.

Pompey’s Pillar is one of the biggest monoliths in the world. In 297 A.D, when Roman emperor Diocletian defeated an Alexandrian opposition, this free standing column was constructed as a tribute to this triumph. This 30-feet Corinthian column was carved out of red Aswan granite.

Tip: Make sure you negotiate the price for journeys before departure, especially if using taxis.

Image credits: John Thomas, Ben Snooks, Dennis Jarvis, Lyn Gateley, Dan Lundberg

Karen Bryan

As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save

Posted : Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Spotlight
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