Dear adventurers, welcome to my blog. I hope you have successfully completed all your commitments and that the preparation for a good weekend fun can begin! Today we continue our adventure in Egypt, after Cairo and Giza it is time to introduce to you the cradle of Hellenism and the amanet of Alexander the Great – Alexandria!
There are few cities in the world with such a magnificent, long and interesting history as Alexandria has. This interesting city, which lies on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, was founded by Alexander the Great, dating back to 331 BCE, and is named after him. But long before the arrival of Alexander the Great, the famous Greek poet Homer wrote with great enthusiasm about this part of Africa in his Odyssey, most notably the island of Pharos.
The only remnants of the prehistoric harbor, which Homer also mentions, were found on the shores of Pharos Island. Opposite this island, on the mainland of Egypt, was a small village, fortified exactly where Pompey’s pillar stands today. As ancient Egyptian civilization developed mainly along the Nile River, very little is known about Pharos Island.
In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, came to Egypt. When he came to Memphis, the Egyptians greeted him with enthusiasm, because they despised the authority of the Persians. Alexander the Great was extremely young and at the age of 25, already was a celebrated conqueror, who began his long journey through Greece, Asia Minor and Syria, defeating and with great ease defeating all the Greek and Persian forces got in the way. He had plans for a much longer trip to Persia, Central Asia and India.
But first he had to visit the oasis of Siva and consult with the prophecy of Ammon. On his way to the oasis, Alexander the Great watched with admiration the landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis, as well as the nearby island. He ordered the establishment of a city to be the capital of the region. This location was ideal because it was located “in the middle” of Greater Greece, opposite the Mediterranean Sea, and the rest of Egypt. At that time, the Nile was connected to the Red Sea by a single channel, so Alexandria could also serve as a gateway to the Indian Ocean.
The city plan was made by the Greek architect Dinokrates, and the exterior walls of the city were marked by Alexander the Great himself. Thus, on April 7, 331 BC, the new capital of Egypt, Alexandria, emerged. The city was named after Alexander the Great, although he immediately left the city and did not see any of the buildings erected there. However, when he died, Alexander the Great was returned to Alexandria and buried there. After Alexander the Great’s death, none of his successors appeared to inherit the united kingdom.
Before taking the city tour, my photographer and I, along with a team from the Egyptian Tourism Authority, settled into a hotel. I just got those two hours to freshen up and make sure I could start exploring Alexandria. As you can see my first impressions of the hotel are wonderful because I got a beautiful room overlooking the sea…
Today, Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and a major economic center, extending about 32 km along the Mediterranean coast, in the north-central part of the country. Its altitude in the Nile Delta makes it very vulnerable and sensitive to the very rise in sea level. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from the Suez Canal. Alexandria has also become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt today.
Since the late 18th century, Alexandria has become a major hub for the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading hubs in the world because it has profited from the light land link between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.
Born in Hellenism, Alexandria was virtually nothing from one of the largest, if not the largest, cities in the world. During the first three Ptolemies, the city transformed from the sand of the Mediterranean coasts into the world’s largest scientific and intellectual Mecca. Of the heritage of Ptolemy, many sights remain: the lighthouse on Pharos, one of the wonders of the old world; a large library; Heptastadion; the temple of the god Serapis; numerous palaces…
It is well known that in Egypt at that time everything was not just “honey and milk”. Apart from the earliest period, taxes in Egypt were highest in the Old World. The Royal Palace was the center of royal intrigues and family scandals, including homicides. But it must still be said that the first three Ptolemies marked the golden age of Alexander’s city.
In the photo above, you can see the Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman triumphal pillar in Alexandria, the largest of its kind built outside the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople. The only known free-standing building structure in Roman Egypt. Pompey’s pole is one of the largest ancient monoliths and one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected.
Someone might think that Pompey’s Pillar is the only notable landmark in the archaeological site. It certainly looks like it, but the reality is a little different. Aside from the two sphinxes that guard the pillar, the rest of the area looks like a little more than just a ruin.
As you move away from Pompey’s Pillar and continue down the marked path, you will notice that the discarded wooden boards lead the way back to the pillar itself. It seems odd, but if you follow it you will see a small partially hidden path. Here you will find the “Daughter of the Library of Alexandria” and the Serapeum Temple.
The daughter of the Library of Alexandria was a small extension of the main library in Alexandria. Over 7000 files are preserved here. Today you can explore the interior of the remains of the library and it’s probably not as impressive as one might imagine. If you are a fan of Egyptian history, like me, visiting this library will only bring you unparalleled happiness and joy because you have learned something new!
Serapeum Temple is probably one of the most magnificent buildings in the Pompey Pillar archeological complex. Today you could walk past it without noticing it! The temple is located right next to the “Daughter of the Library of Alexandria”. Today you can still find a replica of the bull statue where the original was originally placed. This landmark was most destroyed during the attacks of Christians during their struggles aimed at eradicating paganism. Only Pompey’s pillar, two sphinxes and the remains of the daughter of the Library of Alexandria and the Serapeum Temple are left.
After visiting this archaeological site, we continued our tour of Alexandria and the famous modern version of the Library of Alexandria – Bibliotheca Alexandrina, since the previous one we can only imagine and magnify in our imagination was completely destroyed in a great fire.
The Alexandrina Library is the main library and cultural center located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria. It is also the only memory of the Library of Alexandria lost in ancient times and an attempt to recreate some of the splendor that represented this center of study and erudition. The idea of reviving the old library dates back to 1974, when the board that set up the University of Alexandria selected land for its new library. Construction work began in 1995 and after about $ 220 million was spent, the complex officially opened in October 2002.
Today’s modern library has shelves for nearly eight million books, with the library’s main reading room occupying an area of nearly 20,000 square meters. The newly opened complex also houses a conference center, specialized libraries for old maps, multimedia, four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions, 15 permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a manuscript restoration laboratory.
The reading of the scripture is fully adapted for the disabled (visually impaired, blind and deaf people) and also wheelchair-bound people can enjoy this modern cultural complex without any problems.
You can see interesting permanent exhibitions and exhibitions on Egyptian history at the Museum, located within the new modern complex of the Library of Alexandria. You can always learn something new and get the opportunity to learn something new about the culture and lifestyle of peoples in Ancient Egypt.
The dimensions of this complex are really impressive, the library has a shelf space of eight million books with a main reading room covering 20,000 square meters (220,000 square meters of the entire complex) at eleven cascading levels.
The complex also houses a conference center, specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, a special center for the blind and visually impaired, a center for young people and children together with libraries, four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions, 15 permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a restoration laboratory. of the manuscript.
The architecture of the library is equally striking. The main reading room is located below the roof with glass panels over 30 meters high, sloping toward the sea like an umbrella. The walls are of gray Aswan granite, with carved figures from 120 different scriptures. The collection housed in the Alexandrina Library is donated from almost every corner of the globe. The Spanish donated documents detailing their period of Moor rule. The French also made their contribution, donating to the library documentation relating to the construction of the Suez Canal like many others.
The most interesting museum in this complex is the Sadat Museum. Older generations who were interested in the political scene in the world must have once heard from Anwar Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The Sadat Museum is the first museum in Alexandria dedicated to the late President Anwar Sadat. Located on an area of 260 square meters. The museum is part of an effort to document the history of modern Egypt. Before entering the museum, visitors have the opportunity to watch a show about President Sadat. It is also available to watch 12 hours of video content donated by Egyptian national television. These recordings include numerous speeches by President Sadat, an account of all the documents on the Egyptian-Israeli peace process and the October War, and a collection of recordings never aired in Egypt or the Arab world.
This museum also exhibits a collection of Sadat’s personal belongings, such as his radio, desk, and his personal library, which contains a collection of very rare books that have been donated to him by many influential people and other politicians. In addition, visitors will find a large number of Sadat’s portraits along with a collection of Arab swords, memorial shields, his personal stick, pipe and special national costume that he wore whenever he visited his hometown, Mit Abul Kom, located in northern Egypt.
The museum contains numerous decorations and honors bestowed in Egypt and other countries on President Sadat at various stages of his life, along with numerous gold, silver, bronze and copper decorations that he and Mrs. Jehan Sadat received as a gift.
Here you can see an interesting collection of President Sadat’s civilian and military suits, the most important of which is the military suit soaked in blood he wore on the day of the October 6, 1981 assassination.
One day was fulfilled and we learned a lot about interesting things about ancient and modern Egypt. Alexandria is a big city and you cannot visit all the sights in just one day. My recommendation is to set aside for Alexandria 2 to 3 days, if you can and more because you will be able to find out more.
Citadel of Qaitbay is a 15th-century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean coast in Alexandria. It was built in 1477 by Sultan Al-Ashraf Sef al Din Din Qa’it Bay. Qaitbay Fortress in Alexandria is considered one of the most important strongholds of defense, not only in Egypt but along the Mediterranean coast. It formed an important part of the fortification system of Alexandria in the 15th century.
This citadel is located at the entrance to the eastern port at the eastern point of Pharos Island. It was erected in the exact spot of the famous Alexandria Lighthouse, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The lighthouse continued to operate until the time of the Arab conquest, then several disasters occurred and the shape of the lighthouse changed to some extent. The reconstruction began in the period of Ahmed Ibn Tulun. During the 11th century there was an earthquake that damaged the octagonal part.
The foundation survived the impact, but could only serve as a tower, and a small mosque was built at the top. In the 14th century a very devastating earthquake occurred and the entire building was completely destroyed.
Sultan Qaitbay traveled to Alexandria, along with several other Mameluke princes, to visit the site of the old lighthouse and during this visit ordered the construction of the Citadel. In the month of Shaban, Sultan Qaytbey traveled to Alexandria again when construction was completed. He secured the fort with a brave legion of soldiers and various weapons. He also, as Ibn Aias mentioned, dedicated several vakufs from which he financed construction work as well as the salaries of soldiers. During the Mameluke period, and because of its strategic position, the Citadel was well maintained by all the rulers who came after Sultan Qaitbay.
The citadel was neglected for some time, until 1904 when the upper part of the fort was rebuilt by the Ministry of Defense. King Farouk wanted to turn the Citadel into a royal holiday home, so he ordered a speedy reconstruction. Following the 1952 revolution, Egyptian naval troops converted the building into a Maritime Museum. The largest restoration work dates back to 1984, when the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities made ambitious plans to rebuild the fort.
My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our third special post from series of post from my Egyptian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Egyptian Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and Mediterranean Azur Hotel their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.
How do you like this story about Egypt? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Alexandria? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!
If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.