Alexandria

Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. J.-C. Second city of Egypt, less touristic. It is above all a Mediterranean city which draws its roots and its true richness from a mosaic of cultures. Renowned for its Greco-Roman monuments, such as the amphitheater of Kom el Dikka, Citadel of Qaitbay. As well as the ancient city and the Library of Alexandria.

The capital of the country for about 6 centuries, a major center of trade (port of Egypt). And one of the greatest Hellenistic cultural centers of the Mediterranean Sea centered on the famous library. The city during the Hellenistic period presented the largest city in the Greek world.

Nicknamed the “counter of the world. It formed a major commercial center. However leading to the formation of a cosmopolitan population of the order of half a million inhabitants. Unequaled during antiquity. In addition, the city was the capital of lagid power.

This ancient city has suffered various earthquakes. Thus its famous lighthouse and the old great library have disappeared.

This library is the largest in the ancient world. Thus making a place where the great philosophers and scientists of that time came to seek knowledge. Founded in 288 BC. J.-C. And definitively destroyed around the year 48 before our era. The most famous library of antiquity. Although it brings together the most important works of the time. The library was part of a larger complex called the Mouseion dedicated to the Muses. In fact the nine goddesses of the arts. The library quickly acquires many rolls of papyrus. Thus thanks to the voluntarist policy of the Ptolemaic kings. While their number is estimated to be between 40,000 and 400,000 at its peak.

Then the Arabs conquered Egypt in the 7th century. Also decided at that time to build a new capital further south. Cairo. Alexandria thus lost its grandeur and turned to foreign trade.

At the end of the 18th century, Napoleon's troops conquered Alexandria. Similarly, in the middle of the 19th century the British bombed the city.

In modern times, the city of Alexandria experienced significant expansion. Indeed, the medieval city was on dry land, fortified by an enclosure. Although the modern city is built on the ruins of the ancient city which makes excavation difficult.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria one of the Seven Wonders of the World ancient, the lighthouse was 135 meters high with approximately three hundred rooms. Through the center was a double spiral climb. The lantern above the lighthouse remains a mystery. Some say it contained a polished steel mirror that reflected light by day and fire by night. The lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake around 1302/1303. 

The lighthouse was built to protect sailors from the coast ofAlexandria and also as a work of propaganda. The whole city was overbuilt and the lighthouse was to be its symbol. It will become emblematic of the city and still is today. The lighthouse dominated the coast and allowed sailors to have a point of reference.

We can read in Strabo that the lighthouse was built in white stone. Which would in fact be a local limestone which has the particularity of hardening on contact with water. It is also believed that the most critical parts of the lighthouse are made of granite fromAswan. Moreover, Fort Qait Bay, built on the site of the lighthouse built using the same process.

The unavoidable

Citadel (Fort) of Qaitbay is a 15th century fortresse century built on the site of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, on the east coast of the northern island of Pharos.

Fort Qaitbay is a fine example of Mamluk era military architecture in Egypt. It was built in the XIVe century under Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay — one of the last Mamluk rulers of Egypt. Construction began in 1477, to be completed two years later.

In order to protect the city against the threat of the Ottoman Empire. Built in a medieval style, the fort was completely restored in 2001/2002; it houses the Navy Museum which contains objects from Roman and Napoleon naval battles.

The entrance is through a passage made of red granite from Aswan. Near the mosque there is a reservoir which was used to store water in case of siege.

From the access to the sea, the underwater excavations, carried out mainly by the teams of Jean-Yves Emperor and Isabelle Hairy of the Center d'études alexandrines, revealed an immense archaeological deposit, with thousands of blocks of architecture, colossal statues, obelisks and sphinx, from the collapse of the Alexandria lighthouse.

Adjacent to the fort, the Hydro-Biological Institute (Alexandria Aquarium) contains a wide variety of rare fish. Further east of the Anfouchi district, there is a small necropolis of five tombs dating from the Ptolemaic period.

Theater (Roman Amphitheater) of Kom el-Dikka means "pile of stones" The site was discovered in 1959 by a team of Poles. Unique in the country The site is still under excavation since 1970. However with the discovery of Roman remains including this theater with galleries. As well as mosaic floor sections. Also marble seats to accommodate up to 800 spectators. At the time of the Ptolemies, this sector was a garden of pleasures. In addition, the theater could be covered to serve as an odeon for musical works. Although inscriptions suggest it was also sometimes used for wrestling contests. So the theater has thirteen semi-circular rows of white marble imported from Europe. Thus its columns are of green marble imported from Asia Minor. And red granite imported from Aswan. Each side is decorated with a geometric mosaic paving made in iie century before our era.

Outside the theater you can see vaults and stone walls. Also Roman brick baths and the remains of Roman houses.

While within the enclosure is installed the open-air underwater museum. To exhibit the sphinxes, obelisks, fragments of colossal statues. Exits from the waters of the Mediterranean by the team of the Center for Alexandrian Studies.

Near this site, towards the fire station, a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to Bastet (Bubasteion).While it has just been discovered by a team of Egyptian archaeologists. In fact this temple built at the request of Queen Berenice, wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes. About six hundred statues, including several with the image of Bastet, are discovered there.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina built approximately on the site of the ancient building of the library of alexandria. While it is a library and a cultural center. Work began in 1995 and cost $220 million. It was inaugurated on October 16, 2002. Although it has the largest reading room in the world. Occupying seven of the main building's eleven floors. Offering 2,000 seats, 180 study rooms and eventually housing eight million books.

Within the framework of a project conducted jointly by Unesco and Egypt. It should be able to accommodate around eight million books. Which makes it a respectable size library on a global scale. However, quite far behind the Library of Congress in the United States, which houses nearly 34.5 million books. Or the François-Mitterrand library in Paris, which contains some twenty million.

In July 2010, the National Library of France donated 500,000 French-language books to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as the basis for the partnership between the two institutions.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a trilingual establishment: Arabic, French, English. Although it must become according to its director Ismail Serageldin a high place of the Francophonie in the region.

First of all the library proposed in 2003 for inscription on the world heritage. Thus it appears on the "indicative list" of theUNESCO in the cultural heritage category.

The architecture of the library chosen following a competition organized by Unesco. This is the proposal of a Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta, which was adopted. The plan was made by the Egyptian engineer Mamdouh Hamza.

Next to the reading room are three museums. As well as five research institutes as well as exhibition halls.

In the library, the reading rooms are spread over seven levels. Four of which are below sea level. Tall columns adorned with flowers of lotus decorate the interior of the reading rooms. Which can accommodate up to 2,000 people.

A museum is reserved for thousands of ancient manuscripts. including two copies of the Bible offered by the Vatican at the library. As well as a copy of the Description of Egypt. He also has an identical copy of the Rosetta stone. And a book of the memorandum of the inauguration of the Suez Canal. However including paintings of the ceremony of the journey of queens and princes. Although drawn by the artist of Khedive Ismail Pasha.

Catacombs of Kom-el-Chougafa are the largest Roman burial site in Egypt. While discoveries date from September 28, 1900 when a donkey fell into a pit. So caused the ground to collapse and ten meters down. The catacombs of Kom-el-Chouqaf appeared. Makes it one of the most important archaeological sites in Alexandria. This funerary complex, built at the end of the ier century, was used until the beginning of the ive.

These tombs carved into the rock for a wealthy family. They represent the last existing main construction of the ancient Egyptian religion. Although the funerary designs are pure ancient Egyptian style inspired by Greco-Roman patterns.

300 graves were dug, with benches for visitors bringing offerings. The complex also contains small chapels and a spiral staircase. Which descends on three underground levels. But the last level is flooded. The two upper levels include a dining room, which hosted funeral meals and the main tomb. Mixing Egyptian, Greek and Roman symbols.

From the Greeks to the present day, a slow process of aging has altered tomb murals. The coloring of the pigments slowly faded and the paintings tipped into illegibility. In 1993 a change in hygrometry modified the appearance of the walls. Traces of paintings appear, slightly revealing, above one of the tombs in the hall of Caracalla, a fresco hitherto unknown.

In the center of the facade, the familiar solar disk surmounts a frieze of serpents; on the left and on the right two serpents carry the crowns of the Lower Egypt and some Upper Egypt. They are not like the cobras of Saqqara or of Thebes. They seem to be designed like a modern comic. In the chamber of the tomb, the decor includes HorusThothAnubis. The priest in his panther skin, and the king making an offering to the deceased in the form of aOsiris. These figures are rendered in the Greco-Roman style. To the traditional scenes are added the additional groups of grapes. So heads of jellyfish, and a variety of Greek and Roman decorations.

The gardens and the palace of Montaza built in 1892 by King Abbas II. Who built a great palace called the Salamlek. In 1932, King Fouad Ier built a bigger palace and called it the Haramlik. His son, the king Farouk, built the pier over the sea. The rest of the space is made up of gardens.

While the summer residence of Khedive Abbas Hilmy. Then, he welcomed the guests of King Farouk. Only the exterior of the building is accessible to visitors. However the interior serving as a residence for Egyptian presidents. In fact this place is very quiet. Although it offers you the opportunity to travel in a 150 hectare park that surrounds a palace. Not to be missed, there reigns a gentle atmosphere conducive to daydreaming and above all one of the most remarkable fauna. One of the favorite places for Alexandrians like to walk in the gardens and on the corniche.

Alexandria Beaches which extend from Al-Ma'amora in the east to Agamy in the west, about 24 km long. The beaches of Alexandria are very popular with Egyptians. In fact they are ideal places for the inhabitants and places of relaxation. Thanks to the geographical location of Alexandria it has gained popularity among Arab countries as a resort. Also a good place where you can spend the summer. Because it has more than 35 beaches including: tourist beaches, distinguished beaches and free beaches. One of the most famous geographical landmarks in Alexandria is the Eastern Port with its crescent shape.

Diocletian's Column (Pompey's Pillar) is a monolithic column of red granite from Aswan. Twenty-five meters high, nine meters in circumference. After his defeat by Julius Caesar in the civil war, Pompey fled to Egypt where he was assassinated in -48 BC Thus medieval travelers later believed that he should be buried here.

While actually built in honor of Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 4th century. Who captured Alexandria after besieging it.                                                                         

It is located in the Archaeological Park of Alexandria in Egypt. At the place where the Serapeum.

Then the Arabs called it Amoud el-Sawari, column of columns. This column is the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria. So originally in the temple of Sarapis which was once a magnificent structure rivaling the Soma and the Caesareum.

Nearby there are underground galleries where sacred Apis bulls were buried as well as three sphinxes. Inside a park in which archaeological work is still being carried out.

During the expedition to Egypt, scholars made many reports on their work in description of Egypt, including one on the so-called Pompey's Pillar.

The Serapeum of Alexandria in antiquity a sanctuary dedicated to Serapis. In fact the Greco-Egyptian cult of Serapis  established by the Ptolemies, but probably at Memphis. Archaeological excavations indicate that the temple of Alexandria was founded under Ptolemy III. He wanted to magnify a god who could unite the Egyptian people with the Greek rulers. Although He was in the Egyptian district of Rakôtis. On a raised ground which made it call the “Acropolis of Alexandria”. So Serapis had characteristics of both religions and became the protector of Alexandria.

Archaeological remains indicate that the cult was very popular there. So bilingual foundation plates where the name of Serapis also appears in the Egyptian form "Oser-Api". bull statue Apis in black granite, today at Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria. Two obelisks and two sphinx in red granite. An annex of the famous library of alexandria which in Roman times. Destroyed in 392 by Theophilus of Alexandria, Bishop of Alexandria. While enforcing a decree of Theodosius Ier authorizing the closure and demolition of pagan temples. Completely razed and replaced by a Christian church. All that remains is the dedicatory column of Diocletian, better known as Pompey's column.

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