Alexandria

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Alexandria

الإسكندرية
ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ
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Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt - panoramio - youssef alam (15).jpg
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Coat of arms
Nicknames: 
Mediterranean's Bride, Pearl of the Mediterranean
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Alexandria
Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 31°12′N29°55′E / 31.200°N 29.917°E / 31.200; 29.917 Coordinates: 31°12′N29°55′E / 31.200°N 29.917°E / 31.200; 29.917
CountryFlag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Governorate Alexandria
Founded331 BC
Founded by Alexander the Great
Government
  GovernorAbd El Aziz Konsowa El Ghoury [1]
Area
  Total2,679 km2 (1,034 sq mi)
Elevation
5 m (16 ft)
Population
(October 2018 [2] )
  Total5,200,000
  Density1,900/km2 (5,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Alexandrian, Alexandrine
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
Postal code
21500
Area code(s) (+20) 3
Website Official website

Alexandria ( /ˌælɪɡˈzændriə/ or /-ˈzɑːnd-/ ; [3] Egyptian Arabic : إسكندريهEskendereyya; Arabic : الإسكندريةal-ʾIskandariyya; Coptic : ⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇⲣⲓⲁAlexandria or ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯRakote) is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.

Coptic language Latest stage of the Egyptian language

Coptic or Coptic Egyptian, is the latest stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century as an official language. Egyptian began to be written in the Coptic alphabet, an adaptation of the Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from Demotic to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have, in the 1st century AD.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Mediterranean Sea Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and Asia

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Contents

Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c.332 BC by Alexander the Great, [4] king of Macedon and leader of the Greek League of Corinth, during his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire. Alexandria became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for almost 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world); and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Alexandria was at one time the second most powerful city of the ancient Mediterranean region, after Rome. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.

Alexander the Great King of Macedon

Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.

Red Sea Arm of the Indian Ocean between Arabia and Africa

The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez. The Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.

History

Ancient era

Alexander The Great Alexander1256.jpg
Alexander The Great
Alexandria
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Alexandria
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Alexandria
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AlexandriaAlexandria
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Alexandria
raqd(y).t (Alexandria)
in hieroglyphs

Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια (Alexandreia). Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Although it has long been believed only a small village there, recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show significant human activity at the location for two millennia preceding Alexandria's founding. [5]

Dinocrates Ancient Greek architect

Dinocrates of Rhodes was a Greek architect and technical adviser for Alexander the Great. He is known for his plan for the city of Alexandria, the monumental funeral pyre for Hephaestion and the reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, as well as other works.

Naucratis City of Ancient Egypt, on the Canopic branch of the Nile river

Naucratis or Naukratis was a city of Ancient Egypt, on the Canopic branch of the Nile river, and 45 mi (72 km) southeast of the open sea and Alexandria. It was the first and, for much of its early history, the only permanent Greek colony in Egypt; it was a symbiotic nexus for the interchange of Greek and Egyptian art and culture.

Nile River in Africa and the longest river in the world

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, and is the longest river in Africa and the disputed longest river in the world. The Nile, which is about 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long, is an "international" river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.

Alexandria was the intellectual and cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks, Jews and Syrians. The city was later plundered and lost its significance. [6]

In the early Christian Church, the city was the center of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which was one of the major centers of early Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the modern world, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria both lay claim to this ancient heritage.

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is an autocephalous patriarchate that is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its seat is in Alexandria and it has canonical responsibility for the entire African continent.

Just east of Alexandria (where Abu Qir Bay is now), there was in ancient times marshland and several islands. As early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was recently rediscovered under water.

An Egyptian city, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore and later gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language (Egyptian *Raˁ-Ḳāṭit, written rˁ-ḳṭy.t, 'That which is built up'). It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city. After Alexander's departure, his viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the expansion. Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy Lagides succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria, though it was eventually lost after being separated from its burial site there. [7]

Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been primarily Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became Egypt's main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. [8]

Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was also home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world. The Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic center of learning (Library of Alexandria), but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian. [9] By the time of Augustus, the city walls encompassed an area of 5.34 km2, and the total population in Roman times was around 500-600,000. [10]

According to Philo of Alexandria, in the year 38 of the Common era, disturbances erupted between Jews and Greek citizens of Alexandria during a visit paid by the Jewish king Agrippa I to Alexandria, principally over the respect paid by the Jewish nation to the Roman emperor, and which quickly escalated to open affronts and violence between the two ethnic groups and the desecration of Alexandrian synagogues. The violence was quelled after Caligula intervened and had the Roman governor, Flaccus, removed from the city. [11]

In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami (365 Crete earthquake), [12] an event annually commemorated years later as a "day of horror". [13]

Muhammad's era

The Islamic prophet Muhammad's first interaction with the people of Egypt occurred in 628, during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha (Hisma). He sent Hatib bin Abi Baltaeh with a letter to the king of Egypt (in reality Emperor Heraclius) and Alexandria called Muqawqis. [14] [15] In the letter Muhammad said: "I invite you to accept Islam, Allah the sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, you will bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts". During this expedition one of Muhammad's envoys Dihyah bin Khalifa Kalbi was attacked, Muhammad sent Zayd ibn Haritha to help him. Dihya approached the Banu Dubayb (a tribe which converted to Islam and had good relations with Muslims) for help. When the news reached Muhammad, he immediately dispatched Zayd ibn Haritha with 500 men to battle. The Muslim army fought with Banu Judham, killed several of them (inflicting heavy casualties), including their chief, Al-Hunayd ibn Arid and his son, and captured 1000 camels, 5000 of their cattle and 100 women and boys. The new chief of the Banu Judham who had embraced Islam appealed to Muhammad to release his fellow tribesmen, and Muhammad released them. [16] [17]

Islamic era

Entry of General Bonaparte into Alexandria, oil on canvas, 365 cm x 500 cm (144 in x 197 in), c. 1800, Versailles Guillaume-Francois Colson 001.jpg
Entry of General Bonaparte into Alexandria, oil on canvas, 365 cm × 500 cm (144 in × 197 in), c. 1800, Versailles
Alexandria: bombardment by British naval forces Bombardamento Alessandria 1882.jpg
Alexandria: bombardment by British naval forces
The Battle of Abukir, by Antoine-Jean Gros 1806. Antoine-Jean Gros - Bataille d'Aboukir, 25 juillet 1799 - Google Art Project.jpg
The Battle of Abukir, by Antoine-Jean Gros 1806.

In 619, Alexandria fell to the Sassanid Persians. Although the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered it in 629, in 641 the Arabs under the general 'Amr ibn al-'As captured it during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, after a siege that lasted 14 months. The first Arab governor of Egypt recorded to have visited Alexandria was Utba ibn Abi Sufyan, who strengthened the Arab presence and built a governor's palace in the city in 664–665. [18] [19]

After the Battle of Ridaniya in 1517, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and remained under Ottoman rule until 1798. Alexandria lost much of its former importance to the Egyptian port city of Rosetta during the 9th to 18th centuries, and only regained its former prominence with the construction of the Mahmoudiyah Canal in 1807.

Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798. French troops stormed the city on 2 July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of a British expedition in 1801. The British won a considerable victory over the French at the Battle of Alexandria on 21 March 1801, following which they besieged the city, which fell to them on 2 September 1801. Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman governor of Egypt, began rebuilding and redevelopment around 1810, and by 1850, Alexandria had returned to something akin to its former glory. [20] Egypt turned to Europe in their effort to modernize the country. Greeks, followed by other Europeans and others, began moving to the city. In the early 20th century, the city became a home for novelists and poets. [6]

In July 1882, the city came under bombardment from British naval forces and was occupied. [21]

In July 1954, the city was a target of an Israeli bombing campaign that later became known as the Lavon Affair. On 26 October 1954, Alexandria's Mansheya Square was the site of a failed assassination attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser. [22]

Europeans began leaving Alexandria following the 1956 Suez Crisis that led to an outburst of Arab nationalism. The nationalization of property by Nasser, which reached its highest point in 1961, drove out nearly all the rest. [6]

Ibn Battuta in Alexandria

In reference to Alexandria, Egypt, Ibn Battuta speaks of great saints that resided here. One of them being Imam Borhan Oddin El Aaraj. He was said to have the power of working miracles. He told Ibn Battuta that he should go find his three brothers, Farid Oddin, who lived in India, Rokn Oddin Ibn Zakarya, who lived in Sindia, and Borhan Oddin, who lived in China. Battuta then made it his purpose to find these people and give them his compliments. Sheikh Yakut was another great man. He was the disciple of Sheikh Abu Abbas El Mursi, who was the disciple of Abu El Hasan El Shadali, who is known to be a servant of God. Abu Abbas was the author of the Hizb El Bahr and was famous for piety and miracles. Abu Abd Allah El Murshidi was a great interpreting saint that lived secluded in the Minyat of Ibn Murshed. He lived alone but was visited daily by emirs, viziers, and crowds that wished to eat with him. The Sultan of Egypt (El Malik El Nasir) visited him, as well. Ibn Battuta left Alexandria with the intent of visiting him. [23]

Timeline

The most important battles and sieges of Alexandria include:

Layout of the ancient city

Macedonian Army Macedonian Army Alexander.jpg
Macedonian Army

Greek Alexandria was divided into three regions:

Brucheum
Brucheum is the Royal or Greek quarter and forms the most magnificent portion of the city. In Roman times Brucheum was enlarged by the addition of an official quarter, making four regions in all. The city was laid out as a grid of parallel streets, each of which had an attendant subterranean canal;
The Jewish quarter
This quarter is the northeast portion of the city;
Rhakotis
Rhakotis is the old city that was absorbed into Alexandria. It was occupied chiefly by Egyptians. (from Coptic Rakotə "Alexandria").
Engraving by L F Cassas of the Canopic Street in Alexandria, Egypt made in 1784. Canopic Street Alexandria 1784 by LF Cassa.png
Engraving by L F Cassas of the Canopic Street in Alexandria, Egypt made in 1784.

Two main streets, lined with colonnades and said to have been each about 60 meters (200 ft) wide, intersected in the center of the city, close to the point where the Sema (or Soma) of Alexander (his Mausoleum) rose. This point is very near the present mosque of Nebi Daniel; and the line of the great East–West "Canopic" street, only slightly diverged from that of the modern Boulevard de Rosette (now Sharia Fouad). Traces of its pavement and canal have been found near the Rosetta Gate, but remnants of streets and canals were exposed in 1899 by German excavators outside the east fortifications, which lie well within the area of the ancient city.

Alexandria consisted originally of little more than the island of Pharos, which was joined to the mainland by a 1,260-metre-long (4,130 ft) mole and called the Heptastadion ("seven stadia"—a stadium was a Greek unit of length measuring approximately 180 metres or 590 feet). The end of this abutted on the land at the head of the present Grand Square, where the "Moon Gate" rose. All that now lies between that point and the modern "Ras al-Tin" quarter is built on the silt which gradually widened and obliterated this mole. The Ras al-Tin quarter represents all that is left of the island of Pharos, the site of the actual lighthouse having been weathered away by the sea. On the east of the mole was the Great Harbor, now an open bay; on the west lay the port of Eunostos, with its inner basin Kibotos, now vastly enlarged to form the modern harbor.

In Strabo's time, (latter half of the 1st century BC) the principal buildings were as follows, enumerated as they were to be seen from a ship entering the Great Harbor.

  1. The Royal Palaces, filling the northeast angle of the town and occupying the promontory of Lochias, which shut in the Great Harbor on the east. Lochias (the modern Pharillon) has almost entirely disappeared into the sea, together with the palaces, the "Private Port," and the island of Antirrhodus. There has been a land subsidence here, as throughout the northeast coast of Africa.
  2. The Great Theater, on the modern Hospital Hill near the Ramleh station. This was used by Julius Caesar as a fortress, where he withstood a siege from the city mob after he took Egypt after the battle of Pharsalus [ citation needed ][ clarification needed ]
  3. The Poseidon, or Temple of the Sea God, close to the theater
  4. The Timonium built by Marc Antony
  5. The Emporium (Exchange)
  6. The Apostases (Magazines)
  7. The Navalia (Docks), lying west of the Timonium, along the seafront as far as the mole
  8. Behind the Emporium rose the Great Caesareum, by which stood the two great obelisks, which become known as "Cleopatra's Needles," and were transported to New York City and London. This temple became, in time, the Patriarchal Church, though some ancient remains of the temple have been discovered. The actual Caesareum, the parts not eroded by the waves, lies under the houses lining the new seawall.
  9. The Gymnasium and the Palaestra are both inland, near the Boulevard de Rosette in the eastern half of the town; sites unknown.
  10. The Temple of Saturn; alexandria west.
  11. The Mausolea of Alexander (Soma) and the Ptolemies in one ring-fence, near the point of intersection of the two main streets.
  12. The Musaeum with its famous Library and theater in the same region; site unknown.
  13. The Serapeum of Alexandria, the most famous of all Alexandrian temples. Strabo tells us that this stood in the west of the city; and recent discoveries go far as to place it near "Pompey's Pillar," which was an independent monument erected to commemorate Diocletian's siege of the city.

The names of a few other public buildings on the mainland are known, but there is little information as to their actual position. None, however, are as famous as the building that stood on the eastern point of Pharos island. There, The Great Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, reputed to be 138 metres (453 feet) high, was situated. The first Ptolemy began the project, and the second Ptolemy (Ptolemy II Philadelphus) completed it, at a total cost of 800  talents. It took 12 years to complete and served as a prototype for all later lighthouses in the world. The light was produced by a furnace at the top and the tower was built mostly with solid blocks of limestone. The Pharos lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century, making it the second longest surviving ancient wonder, after the Great Pyramid of Giza. A temple of Hephaestus also stood on Pharos at the head of the mole.

In the 1st century, the population of Alexandria contained over 180,000 adult male citizens, [24] according to a census dated from 32 CE, in addition to a large number of freedmen, women, children and slaves. Estimates of the total population range from 216,000 [25] to 500,000 [26] making it one of the largest cities ever built before the Industrial Revolution and the largest pre-industrial city that was not an imperial capital.[ citation needed ]

Geography

Skyline from Qaitbay Citadel AlexandriaSkyline.jpg
Skyline from Qaitbay Citadel
Satellite image of Alexandria and other cities show its surrounding coastal plain Alexandria egypt.jpg
Satellite image of Alexandria and other cities show its surrounding coastal plain
Lake Mariout bHyr@ mrywT (Mariout lake).jpg
Lake Mariout

Alexandria is located in the country of Egypt, on the southern coast of the Mediterranean.

Climate

Alexandria has a borderline hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh), [27] approaching a hot semi-arid climate (BSh). As the rest of Egypt's northern coast, the prevailing north wind, blowing across the Mediterranean, gives the city a less severe climate from the desert hinterland. [28] Rafah and Alexandria [29] are the wettest places in Egypt; the other wettest places are Rosetta, Baltim, Kafr el-Dawwar, and Mersa Matruh. The city's climate is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, moderating its temperatures, causing variable rainy winters and moderately hot summers that, at times, can be very humid; January and February are the coolest months, with daily maximum temperatures typically ranging from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) and minimum temperatures that could reach 5 °C (41  °F ).

Alexandria experiences violent storms, rain and sometimes sleet and hail during the cooler months; these events, combined with a poor drainage system, have been responsible for occasional flooding in the city. [30] July and August are the hottest and driest months of the year, with an average daily maximum temperature of 30 °C (86  °F ). The average annual rainfall is around 200 mm (7.9 in) but has been as high as 417 mm (16.4 in) [31]

Port Said, Kosseir, Baltim, Damietta and Alexandria have the least temperature variation in Egypt.

The highest recorded temperature was 45 °C (113 °F) on 30 May 1961, and the coldest recorded temperature was 0 °C (32 °F) on 31 January 1994. [32]

Climate data for Alexandria
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)29.6
(85.3)
33.0
(91.4)
40.0
(104.0)
41.0
(105.8)
45.0
(113.0)
43.8
(110.8)
43.0
(109.4)
38.6
(101.5)
41.4
(106.5)
38.2
(100.8)
35.7
(96.3)
31.0
(87.8)
45.0
(113.0)
Average high °C (°F)18.4
(65.1)
19.3
(66.7)
20.9
(69.6)
24.0
(75.2)
26.5
(79.7)
28.6
(83.5)
29.7
(85.5)
30.4
(86.7)
29.6
(85.3)
27.6
(81.7)
24.1
(75.4)
20.1
(68.2)
24.9
(76.8)
Daily mean °C (°F)13.4
(56.1)
13.9
(57.0)
15.7
(60.3)
18.5
(65.3)
21.2
(70.2)
24.3
(75.7)
25.9
(78.6)
26.3
(79.3)
25.1
(77.2)
22.0
(71.6)
18.7
(65.7)
14.9
(58.8)
20.0
(68.0)
Average low °C (°F)9.1
(48.4)
9.3
(48.7)
10.8
(51.4)
13.4
(56.1)
16.6
(61.9)
20.3
(68.5)
22.8
(73.0)
23.1
(73.6)
21.3
(70.3)
17.8
(64.0)
14.3
(57.7)
10.6
(51.1)
15.8
(60.4)
Record low °C (°F)0.0
(32.0)
0.0
(32.0)
2.3
(36.1)
3.6
(38.5)
7.0
(44.6)
11.6
(52.9)
17.0
(62.6)
17.7
(63.9)
14
(57)
10.7
(51.3)
1.0
(33.8)
1.2
(34.2)
0.0
(32.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches)52.8
(2.08)
29.2
(1.15)
14.3
(0.56)
3.6
(0.14)
1.3
(0.05)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.1
(0.00)
0.8
(0.03)
9.4
(0.37)
31.7
(1.25)
52.7
(2.07)
195.9
(7.7)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 mm)11.08.96.01.91.00.00.00.00.22.95.49.546.8
Average relative humidity (%)69676765666871716768686867.92
Mean monthly sunshine hours 192.2217.5248.0273.0316.2354.0362.7344.1297.0282.1225.0195.33,307.1
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization (UN), [33] Hong Kong Observatory for sunshine and mean temperatures, [34] Climate Charts for humidity [35]
Source #2: Voodoo Skies [32] and Bing Weather [36] for record temperatures
Alexandria mean sea temperature [37]
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
18 °C (64 °F)17 °C (63 °F)17 °C (63 °F)18 °C (64 °F)20 °C (68 °F)23 °C (73 °F)25 °C (77 °F)26 °C (79 °F)26 °C (79 °F)25 °C (77 °F)22 °C (72 °F)20 °C (68 °F)

Historical sites and landmarks

Egypt - Obelisk, Alexandria. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection. S03 06 01 018 image 2380.jpg
Egypt – Obelisk, Alexandria. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection.
Roman Amphitheater AlexandriaAmphitheatre.jpg
Roman Amphitheater
Roman Pompey's Pillar Alex Sawary.jpg
Roman Pompey's Pillar

Due to the constant presence of war in Alexandria in ancient times, very little of the ancient city has survived into the present day. Much of the royal and civic quarters sank beneath the harbour due to earthquake subsidence in AD 365, and the rest has been built over in modern times.

Kom El Shoqafa 113KOM EL SHOQAFA CATACOMBS.jpg
Kom El Shoqafa

"Pompey's Pillar", a Roman triumphal column, is one of the best-known ancient monuments still standing in Alexandria today. It is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis—a modest hill located adjacent to the city's Arab cemetery—and was originally part of a temple colonnade. Including its pedestal, it is 30 m (99 ft) high; the shaft is of polished red granite, 2.7 m (8.9 ft) in diameter at the base, tapering to 2.4 m (7.9 ft) at the top. The shaft is 88 feet (27 m) high, and made out of a single piece of granite. Its volume is 132 cubic meters (4,662 cubic feet) and weight approximately 396 tons. [38] Pompey's Pillar may have been erected using the same methods that were used to erect the ancient obelisks. The Romans had cranes but they were not strong enough to lift something this heavy. Roger Hopkins and Mark Lehrner conducted several obelisk erecting experiments including a successful attempt to erect a 25-ton obelisk in 1999. This followed two experiments to erect smaller obelisks and two failed attempts to erect a 25-ton obelisk. [39] [40] The structure was plundered and demolished in the 4th century when a bishop decreed that Paganism must be eradicated. "Pompey's Pillar" is a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with Pompey, having been erected in 293 for Diocletian, possibly in memory of the rebellion of Domitius Domitianus. Beneath the acropolis itself are the subterranean remains of the Serapeum, where the mysteries of the god Serapis were enacted, and whose carved wall niches are believed to have provided overflow storage space for the ancient Library. In more recent years, many ancient artifacts have been discovered from the surrounding sea, mostly pieces of old pottery.

Alexandria's catacombs, known as Kom El Shoqafa , are a short distance southwest of the pillar, consist of a multi-level labyrinth, reached via a large spiral staircase, and featuring dozens of chambers adorned with sculpted pillars, statues, and other syncretic Romano-Egyptian religious symbols, burial niches, and sarcophagi, as well as a large Roman-style banquet room, where memorial meals were conducted by relatives of the deceased. The catacombs were long forgotten by the citizens until they were discovered by accident in 1900. [41]

The most extensive ancient excavation currently being conducted in Alexandria is known as Kom El Deka. It has revealed the ancient city's well-preserved theater, and the remains of its Roman-era baths.

Persistent efforts have been made to explore the antiquities of Alexandria. Encouragement and help have been given by the local Archaeological Society, and by many individuals, notably Greeks proud of a city which is one of the glories of their national history. Excavations were performed in the city by Greeks seeking the tomb of Alexander the Great without success. The past and present directors of the museum have been enabled from time to time to carry out systematic excavations whenever opportunity is offered; D. G. Hogarth made tentative researches on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1895; and a German expedition worked for two years (1898–1899). But two difficulties face the would-be excavator in Alexandria: lack of space for excavation and the underwater location of some areas of interest.

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Side view of The Temple of Taposiris Magna.

Since the great and growing modern city stands immediately over the ancient one, it is almost impossible to find any considerable space in which to dig, except at enormous cost. Cleopatra VII's royal quarters were inundated by earthquakes and tsunami, leading to gradual subsidence in the 4th century AD. [42] This underwater section, containing many of the most interesting sections of the Hellenistic city, including the palace quarter, was explored in 1992 and is still being extensively investigated by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team. [43] It raised a noted head of Caesarion. These are being opened up to tourists, to some controversy. [44] The spaces that are most open are the low grounds to northeast and southwest, where it is practically impossible to get below the Roman strata.

The most important results were those achieved by Dr. G. Botti, late director of the museum, in the neighborhood of "Pompey's Pillar", where there is a good deal of open ground. Here, substructures of a large building or group of buildings have been exposed, which are perhaps part of the Serapeum. Nearby, immense catacombs and columbaria have been opened which may have been appendages of the temple. These contain one very remarkable vault with curious painted reliefs, now artificially lit and open to visitors.

The objects found in these researches are in the museum, the most notable being a great basalt bull, probably once an object of cult in the Serapeum. Other catacombs and tombs have been opened in Kom El Shoqafa (Roman) and Ras El Tin (painted).

The German excavation team found remains of a Ptolemaic colonnade and streets in the north-east of the city, but little else. Hogarth explored part of an immense brick structure under the mound of Kom El Deka, which may have been part of the Paneum, the Mausolea, or a Roman fortress.

The making of the new foreshore led to the dredging up of remains of the Patriarchal Church; and the foundations of modern buildings are seldom laid without some objects of antiquity being discovered. The wealth underground is doubtlessly immense; but despite all efforts, there is not much for antiquarians to see in Alexandria outside the museum and the neighborhood of "Pompey's Pillar".

Temple of Taposiris Magna

The temple was built in the Ptolemy era and dedicated to Osiris, which finished the construction of Alexandria. It is located in Abusir, the western suburb of Alexandria in Borg el Arab city. Only the outer wall and the pylons remain from the temple. There is evidence to prove that sacred animals were worshiped there. Archaeologists found an animal necropolis near the temple. Remains of a Christian church show that the temple was used as a church in later centuries. Also found in the same area are remains of public baths built by the emperor Justinian, a seawall, quays and a bridge. Near the beach side of the area, there are the remains of a tower built by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The tower was an exact scale replica of the destroyed Alexandrine Pharos Lighthouse.[ citation needed ]

Religion

Places of worship in Alexandria
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Latin Catholic church of Saint Catherine in Mansheya

Islam

The most famous mosque in Alexandria is Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Bahary. Other notable mosques in the city include Ali ibn Abi Talib mosque in Somouha, Bilal mosque, al-Gamaa al-Bahari in Mandara, Hatem mosque in Somouha, Hoda el-Islam mosque in Sidi Bishr, al-Mowasah mosque in Hadara, Sharq al-Madina mosque in Miami, al-Shohadaa mosque in Mostafa Kamel, Al Qa'ed Ibrahim Mosque, Yehia mosque in Zizinia, Sidi Gaber mosque in Sidi Gaber, and Sultan mosque.

Alexandria is the base of the Salafi movements in Egypt. Al-Nour Party, which is based in the city and overwhelmingly won most of the Salafi votes in the 2011–12 parliamentary election, supports the president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. [6]

Christianity

After Rome and Constantinople, Alexandria was considered the third-most important seat of Christianity in the world. The Pope of Alexandria was second only to the bishop of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire until 430. The Church of Alexandria had jurisdiction over most of the continent of Africa. After the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Church of Alexandria was split between the Miaphysites and the Melkites. The Miaphysites went on to constitute what is known today as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Melkites went on to constitute what is known today as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. In the 19th century, Catholic and Protestant missionaries converted some of the adherents of the Orthodox churches to their respective faiths.

Today, the Patriarchal seat of the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church is Saint Mark Cathedral in Ramleh. The most important Coptic Orthodox churches in Alexandria include Pope Cyril I Church in Cleopatra, Saint Georges Church in Sporting, Saint Mark & Pope Peter I Church in Sidi Bishr, Saint Mary Church in Assafra, Saint Mary Church in Gianaclis, Saint Mina Church in Fleming, Saint Mina Church in Mandara and Saint Takla Haymanot's Church in Ibrahimeya.

The most important Eastern Orthodox churches in Alexandria are Agioi Anárgyroi Church, Church of the Annunciation, Saint Anthony Church, Archangels Gabriel & Michael Church, Taxiarchon Church, Saint Catherine Church, Cathedral of the Dormition in Mansheya, Church of the Dormition, Prophet Elijah Church, Saint George Church, Saint Joseph Church in Fleming, Saint Joseph of Arimathea Church, Saint Mark & Saint Nektarios Chapel in Ramleh, Saint Nicholas Church, Saint Paraskevi Church, Saint Sava Cathedral in Ramleh, Saint Theodore Chapel and the Russian church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Alexandria, which serves the Russian speaking community in the city.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria in Egypt-Heliopolis-Port Said has jurisdiction over all Latin Church Catholics in Egypt. Member churches include Saint Catherine Church in Mansheya and Church of the Jesuits in Cleopatra. The city is also the nominal see of the Melkite Greek Catholic titular Patriarchate of Alexandria (generally vested in its leading Patriarch of Antioch) and the actual cathedral see of its Patriarchal territory of Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan, which uses the Byzantine Rite, and the nominal see of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Alexandria (for all Egypt and Sudan, whose actual cathedral is in Cairo), a suffragan of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, using the Armenian Rite.

The Saint Mark Church in Shatby, founded as part of Collège Saint Marc, is multi-denominational and holds liturgies according to Latin Catholic, Coptic Catholic and Coptic Orthodox rites.

In antiquity, Alexandria was a major center of the cosmopolitan religious movement called Gnosticism (today mainly remembered as a Christian heresy).

Judaism

Jewish girls during Bat Mitzva in Alexandria Egyptian Alexandria Jewish girls during BatMitzva.jpg
Jewish girls during Bat Mitzva in Alexandria

Alexandria's once-flourishing Jewish community declined rapidly following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, after which negative reactions towards Zionism among Egyptians led to Jewish residents in the city, and elsewhere in Egypt, being perceived as Zionist collaborators. Most Jewish residents of Egypt fled to the newly established Israel, France, Brazil and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s. The community once numbered 50,000 but is now estimated at below 50. [45] The most important synagogue in Alexandria is the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.

Education

Colleges and universities

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Collège Saint Marc

Alexandria has a number of higher education institutions. Alexandria University is a public university that follows the Egyptian system of higher education. Many of its faculties are internationally renowned, most notably its Faculty of Medicine & Faculty of Engineering. In addition, Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology in New Borg El Arab city, its is a research university set up in collaboration between the Japanese and Egyptian governments in 2010, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport is a semi-private educational institution that offers courses for high school, undergraduate level, and postgraduate students. It is considered the most reputable university in Egypt after the AUC American University in Cairo because of its worldwide recognition from board of engineers at UK & ABET in US. Université Senghor is a private French university that focuses on the teaching of humanities, politics and international relations, which mainly targets students from the African continent. Other institutions of higher education in Alexandria include Alexandria Institute of Technology (AIT) and Pharos University in Alexandria.

Schools

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Lycée Français d'Alexandrie

Alexandria has a long history of foreign educational institutions. The first foreign schools date to the early 19th century, when French missionaries began establishing French charitable schools to educate the Egyptians. Today, the most important French schools in Alexandria run by Catholic missionaries include Collège de la Mère de Dieu, Collège Notre Dame de Sion, Collège Saint Marc, Ecoles des Soeurs Franciscaines (four different schools), École Girard, École Saint Gabriel, École Saint-Vincent de Paul, École Saint Joseph, École Sainte Catherine, and Institution Sainte Jeanne-Antide. As a reaction to the establishment of French religious institutions, a secular (laic) mission established Lycée el-Horreya, which initially followed a French system of education, but is currently a public school run by the Egyptian government. The only school in Alexandria that completely follows the French educational system is Lycée Français d'Alexandrie (École Champollion). It is usually frequented by the children of French expatriates and diplomats in Alexandria. The Italian school is the Istituto "Don Bosco".

English schools in Alexandria are becoming the most popular. English-language schools in the city include: Riada American School, Riada Language School, Alexandria Language School, Future Language School, Future International Schools (Future IGCSE, Future American School and Future German school), Alexandria American School, British School of Alexandria, Egyptian American School, Pioneers Language School, Princesses Girls' School, Sidi Gaber Language School, Taymour English School, Sacred Heart Girls' School, Schutz American School, Victoria College, El Manar Language School for Girls (previously called Scottish School for Girls), Kawmeya Language School, El Nasr Boys' School (previously called British Boys' School), and El Nasr Girls' College. There are only two German schools in Alexandria which are Deutsche Schule der Borromärinnen (DSB of Saint Charles Borromé) and Future Deutsche Schule.

The Montessori educational system was first introduced in Alexandria in 2009 at Alexandria Montessori.

The most notable public schools in Alexandria include El Abbassia High School and Gamal Abdel Nasser High School.

Transport

Airports

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Borg El Arab International Airport

Alexandria is served by El Nouzha Airport which is currently closed and Borg El Arab Airport which is located about 25 km (16 mi) away from the city center.

From late 2011, Alexandria International Airport was to be closed to commercial operations for two years as it underwent expansion, with all airlines operating out of Borg El Arab Airport from then onwards, where a brand new terminal was completed in February 2010. [46] In 2017 the government officially announced that Alexandria International Airport will shut down for good due to operational reasons, after having initially announced that it was to open during mid-2017.

Port

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Alexandria port

Alexandria has four ports; namely the Western Port, which is the main port of the country that handles about 60% of the country's exports and imports, Dekhela Port west of the Western Port, the Eastern Port which is a yachting harbor, and Abu Qir Port at the northern east of the governorate. It is a commercial port for general cargo and phosphates.

Highways

Rail

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Misr Railway Station

Alexandria's intracity commuter rail system extends from Misr Station (Alexandria's primary intercity railway station) to Abu Qir, parallel to the tram line. The commuter line's locomotives operate on diesel, as opposed to the overhead-electric tram.

Alexandria plays host to two intercity railway stations: the aforementioned Misr Station (in the older Manshia district in the western part of the city) and Sidi Gaber railway station (in the district of Sidi Gaber in the center of the eastern expansion in which most Alexandrines reside), both of which also serve the commuter rail line. Intercity passenger service is operated by Egyptian National Railways.

Trams

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An Alexandria tram

An extensive tramway network was built in 1860 and is the oldest in Africa. The network begins at the El Raml district in the west and ends in the Victoria district in the east. Most of the vehicles are blue in color. Some smaller yellow-colored vehicles have further routes beyond the two main endpoints. The tram routes have one of four numbers: 1, 2, 5, and 6. All four start at El Raml, but only two (1 and 2) reach Victoria. There are two converging and diverging points. The first starts at Bolkly (Isis) and ends at San Stefano. The other begins at Sporting and ends at Mostafa Kamel. Route 5 starts at San Stefano and takes the inner route to Bolkly. Route 6 starts at Sidi Gaber El Sheikh in the outer route between Sporting and Mustafa Kamel. Route 1 takes the inner route between San Stefano and Bolkly and the outer route between Sporting and Mustafa Kamel. Route 2 takes the route opposite to Route 1 in both these areas. The tram fares are 50 piastres (0.50 pounds), and 100 piastres (1.00 pounds) for the middle car. Some trams (that date back the 30s) charge a pound. The tram is considered the cheapest method of public transport. A café operates in the second floor of the first car of tram 1 (a women only car) which costs 5 L.E per person, also offering a WiFi service. A luxury light blue tram car operates from San Stefano to Ras El Tin, with free WiFi and movies and songs played inside for 5 L.E per ticket.

The Tram stations:

  1. Baccos - Victoria (Number 1)
  2. Al Seyouf
  3. Sidi Beshr
  4. El Saraya
  5. Laurent Louran
  6. Tharwat
  7. San Stefano
  8. Gianaklis
  9. Schutz
  10. Safar
  11. Abou Shabana (Baccos)
  12. Al Karnak (Fleming)
  13. Al Wezara (The Ministry)
  14. Isis Bolkly Bulkley
  15. Roushdy
  16. Mohammed Mahfouz
  17. Mustafa Kamil
  18. Sidi Gaber Al-Sheikh
  19. Cleopatra Hammamat (Cleopatra Baths)
  20. Cleopatra El Soghra
  21. El Reyada El Kobra (Sporting El Kobra)
  22. El Reyada El Soghra (Sporting Al Soghra)
  23. Al Ibrahimiyya
  24. El Moaskar (Camp Caesar)
  25. Al Gamaa (The University)
  26. Al Shatby
  27. El Shobban El Moslemin
  28. El Shahid Moustafa Ziean
  29. Hassan Rasim (Azarita)
  30. Gamea' Ibrahim (Mosque of Ibrahim)
  31. Mahattet Al Ramleh (Ramlh Station)

Route 2 serves the following stations:

  1. El Nasr - Victoria (Number 2)
  2. Al Seyouf
  3. Sidi Beshr
  4. El Saraya
  5. Louran
  6. Tharwat
  7. San Stefano
  8. Kasr El Safa (Zizini Al Safa Palace)
  9. Al Fonoun Al Gamella (The Fine Arts)
  10. Ramsis (Glym or Gleem)
  11. El Bostan (Saba Pasha)
  12. Al Hedaya (The Guidance)
  13. Isis Bolkly
  14. Roushdy
  15. Mohammed Mahfouz
  16. Mustafa Kamil
  17. Sidi Gaber El Mahata (Railway station)
  18. Cleopatra (Zananere)
  19. El Reyada El Kobra (Sporting El Kobra)
  20. El Reyada El Soghra (Sporting Al Soghra)
  21. Al Ibrahimiyya
  22. El Moaskar (Camp Chezar)
  23. Al Gamaa (The University)
  24. Al Shatby
  25. El Shobban El Moslemin
  26. El Shahid Moustafa Ziean
  27. Hassan Rasim (Azarita)
  28. Gamea' Ibrahim (Mosque of Ibrahim)
  29. Mahattet Al Ramlh (Ramlh Station)

Taxis and minibuses

Taxis in Alexandria sport a yellow-and-black livery and are widely available. While Egyptian law requires all cabs to carry meters, these generally do not work and fares must be negotiated with the driver on either departure or arrival.

The minibus share taxi system, or mashrū' operates along well-known traffic arteries. The routes can be identified by both their endpoints and the route between them:

The route is generally written in Arabic on the side of the vehicle, although some drivers change their route without changing the paint. Some drivers also drive only a segment of a route rather than the whole path; such drivers generally stop at a point known as a major hub of the transportation system (for example, Victoria) to allow riders to transfer to another car or to another mode of transport.

Fare is generally L.E. 3.00 to travel the whole route. Shorter trips may have a lower fare, depending on the driver and the length of the trip.

Culture

Libraries

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The Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Royal Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the largest library in the world. It is generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. It was likely created after his father had built what would become the first part of the library complex, the temple of the Muses—the Museion, Greek Μουσείον (from which the Modern English word museum is derived).

It has been reasonably established that the library, or parts of the collection, were destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (library fires were common and replacement of handwritten manuscripts was very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming). To this day the details of the destruction (or destructions) remain a lively source of controversy. [47]

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2002, near the site of the old Library.

Museums

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Graeco-Roman Museum

Sports

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Alexandria Stadium

The main sport that interests Alexandrians is football, as is the case in the rest of Egypt and Africa. Alexandria Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Alexandria, Egypt. It is currently used mostly for football matches, and was used for the 2006 African Cup of Nations. The stadium is the oldest stadium in Egypt, being built in 1929. The stadium holds 20,000 people. Alexandria was one of three cities that participated in hosting the African Cup of Nations in January 2006, which Egypt won. Sea sports such as surfing, jet-skiing and water polo are practiced on a lower scale. The Skateboarding culture in Egypt started in this city. The city is also home to the Alexandria Sporting Club, which is especially known for its basketball team, which traditionally provides the country's national team with key players. The city hosted the AfroBasket, the continent's most prestigious basketball tournament, on four occasions (1970, 1975, 1983, 2003).

Alexandria has four stadiums:

Other less popular sports like tennis and squash are usually played in private social and sports clubs, like:

Theaters

Tourism

Alexandria is a main summer resort and tourist attraction, due to its public and private beaches and ancient history and Museums, the art that appears in the building especially in the oldest building and the ancient decorations of the hotels, especially the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, based on reviving the ancient Library of Alexandria.

One of the main tourism attractions that start every year from the city is Cross Egypt Challenge. Started in 2011, Cross Egypt Challenge is an international cross-country motorcycle and scooter rally conducted throughout the most difficult tracks and roads of Egypt. Alexandria is known as the yearly starting point of Cross Egypt Challenge and a huge celebration is conducted the night before the rally starts after all the international participants arrive to the city.

The Kom el shoqafa Catacombs are located in Alexandria, Egypt. the catacombs are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages and date back to the 2nd century. The remnants of Pompey's Pillar still remain today. This single pillar represents the elaborate temple which once stood in Alexandria. It remains at the site of the Serapeum, Alexandria's acropolis. The Serapeum, which stood for ancient tradition, conflicted with the rise of Christianity. It is a large tourist destination, today. the Roman Amphitheatre of Alexandria is another popular destination. Here, there remains a stage with around seven hundred to eight hundred seats. They also have numerous galleries of statues and details leftover form this time. Alexandria's tourism office announced plans to reserve some beaches for tourists in July 2018. [48]

International relations

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The Italian consulate in Saad Zaghloul Square

Twin towns/sister cities

Alexandria is twinned with:

See also

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The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Cairo, Egypt.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Alexandria, Egypt.

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Further reading

Preceded by
Sebennytos
Capital of Egypt
331 BC – AD 641
Succeeded by
Fustat