Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, this historic city was one of the Hellenic world’s greatest and wealthiest cities. As the capital city of Greco-Roman Egypt, Alexandria also served as a home to a handful of iconic man-made wonders, such as the Library of Alexandria and the legendary Pharos lighthouse, which was one of the seven wonders on the Ancient World.
Today, the city is a mere faded shade of its past and former grandeur. Alexandria has lost a lot of its distinguished structures and landmarks, after facing numerous battles and conquests. But still, this Egyptian city is worth a visit, thanks to its wealth in cultural attractions and plausible glimpses of its past. Lauded as “the Pearl of the Mediterranean”, the city of Alexandria is truly a mesmerizing Egyptian destination that would delight culture vultures, history buffs and adventurous sightseers.
The Serapeum, or also referred as Sarapeion, was a remarkable ancient temple designed to honor Serapis, a Greek-Egyptian god. Founded in 300 BC by Ptolemy I, this great temple was destroyed infamously in 391 AD by the Christian mob of Bishop Theophilus. While very little of this temple stands today, visitors can still visit and marvel at its underground chamber that contains an interesting cult image. In addition, the chamber features the remains of an ancient underground library.
No trip to the city of Alexandria is complete without a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre. Built by the ancient Romans in the second century AD, Alexandria’s Roman Amphitheatre is a spectacular architectural wonder and a relic that speaks well about Rome’s influence in Egypt. Here, you get to snap pictures of over dozen semicircular tiers that are made intricately of gray and white marble.
In the 2ndcentury AD, the ancient Romans built three tiers of underground burial chambers and tombs in the Kom of el Shogafa. For centuries, these catacombs were forgotten, until they were accidentally discovered in 1900, when a donkey tumbled into one of it underground tunnels. Since then, it has been drawing hordes of archeologists, historians and tourists from all over the world.As you descend into this mysterious site, you get to delve into to the ancient history of Alexandria. An unexpected treasure amidst a buzzing city, the site is a wonderful blend of Roman, Hellenistic and Pharaonic civilisations. The wall’s engravings and paintings as well as its architecture bear mark of the city’s enthralling past.
The Fort Qaitbey could be very well your visual highlight to your trip to Alexandria. Billed as one of the major tourist draws in the city, the Fort Qaitbey is a citadel built in Sultan Qaitbey to protect Alexandria from the crusaders. While this site was meant as a stronghold, it resembles an eye-catching and imposing castle fortress.
The Pompey’s Pillar is an awe-inspiring and imposing sight that will leave its spectators in awe. Constructed in 297 AD in honor of Emperor Diocletian, this breathtaking pillar is a towering 25-meter Corinthian column carved out of granite. At the base of the column, there are a couple of sphinx statues that are just as impressive as the column itself.
With over 1700 archeological pieces on display, the Alexandria National Museum is indeed a boon to anyone who is interested in discovering Egypt’s past. Displayed chronologically, the museum’s exhibits depict the long and fascinating history of Alexandria, from the Pharonic period to the modern times.
Step back in time, and discover more of the city’s historic attractions by planning a trip to Alexandria with a traveler itinerary planner like Trekeffect!
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