The Alexandria Library is a library, exhibition and cultural center aspiring to revive the glory of the ancient library of Alexandria.
There is so much to see inside this modern building. There are four permanent museums. I had time to take in the museum for Sadat. Anwar El Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981. The other Museum was the History of Science Museum. It was very interesting to see how far we've come in the Science field.
There are also shows in the Planatarium that you can take in. I went to see the Ring of Fire (cost 25LE) and the Star Show (15LE). The Star show is only shown in Arabic, even though I couldn't understand the narrating I loved seeing the star constellations. The Ring of Fire had the option for English or Arabic - I chose the English.
My favorite part of the Library just happens to be outside. There is a pool of water, I'm not sure of it's purpose but it makes it feel peaceful in the chaos of the everyday life.
About half way between Montaza and Qait Bay Fort there is an inlet called Stanley Bay. The original road; El-gaish Road; went around it. Now there is the Stanley Bridge bridge across the inlet. It is the first bridge in Egypt to be constructed over the sea and adds a point of interest to the Cornich.
Ten percent of Egyptians are Copts, descendants of the Christians who inhabited Egypt at since the first centuries of Christendom. As the Copts were present in Egypt prior to the arrival of the Arabs and fathat al-Islam, they have their own language, rituals and customs that differ from Arabs. Unlike the Assyrian populations of Iraq and Syria, the Copts have largely lost their language (used only as a liturgical vehicle now) and are thoroughly Arabized. Nevertheless, they cling fiercely to their Christian faith and are quite proud of their beautiful churches. The Metropolis, or Cathedral, of Alexandria is the centre of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. We visited the city before the massive Boxing Day attack on a Coptic Church that killed over 100, so we were allowed into the Patriarchate and to take pictures without problems. The church is not terribly old, but it does have a number of interesting paintings and icons. The compound of the Patriarchate includes a small snack bar, the offices of the Patriarchate and a small bookshop.
Our final stop today is at the Catacomb of Komel – Shokafa
Here we descend several floors into the damp dark cavern, which was the buriel chamber for the royals. Even though the Greeks didn’t believe in an afterlife they maintained the chambers to show respect.
On the main level there is a stone bench and a sort of gathering place for family members. Here families gathered sharing drinks and fond memories of the recently departed. They broke their cups when they finished drinking so as not to bring bad luck away with them . As a result, hills of glass were later discovered here and the place was named Mountain of Glass.
Remarkably it was a donkey who found these ancient chambers by chance. He was digging in a heap of mud after the a rain and fell through the deep hole. As pictures are not allowed here , I have only my memories to take away with me.
The sea is so beautiful around Alexandria. It is the country's largest seaport, serving about 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria extends about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in north-central Egypt.
We really enjoyed strolling waterfront.
Nest we visit El Salamalik Palace
Originally it was built as a hunting lodge for Khidive Abbas Helmi 11 and his Hungro- Austrian mistress .The grounds were stocked with game for his hunting enjoyment. Later his son, King Farouk used the lodge as his summer palace.
Surrounding the Palace we find what once were the private gardens of the King known as the Montazah Gardens. Today they are enjoyed by the public as a park . They really aren’t spectacular, maybe I was expecting too much but they are a pleasant place to stroll.
The palace has been converted to an elaborate 5 star hotel with about 20 rooms. Prices start at $120.00 per night.Situated overlooking the bay, I think this would be a wonderful and romantic place to spend a honeymoon.
Our first stop is The Mosque.
The Attarine Mosque is located in the middle of this unique area, on Attarine Mosque Street. Originally a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius in 370 AD it was converted into a small mosque, which was built up and eventually became known as tAfter lunch we continue our tour of Alexandria. As a special add on bonus our guide decides to take us to a couple of places which aren't on our agenda. He is a true lover of history and I have to admit his enthusiasm is contagious.
he Mosque of a Thousand Columns.
Men enter by the elaborate front entrance but women must enter by the side door. I know this is an age-old cultural practice but it offends me. As it turns out I can’t go in at all as I don’t have anything to cover my head….ahhh maybe its just as well.
I content myself with viewing the exterior which is very ornate. A Spanish architect designed it and even our inexperienced eye can see the Spanish influence.Surrounding the Mosque is an ancient market place. It looked interesting but our guide was impacient for us to move along.
All that remains of this huge temple is one huge red granite pillar, two sphinx and some ruins.
The temple was built in 207AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian . It is called Pompeii’s Pillar as it was once thought to be his temple…an idea that has been disproven.
We take our time exploring the area with our guide. He points out the cleansing baths area of the temple,where priests would bathe before entering. We also see various ancient monuments including those of Ramses 11 and ancient Christian artifacts . We were interested to learn the temple was converted to a Cathedral during Roman times.
Today Alexandria is a mix of cultures including Greek , Roman and Egytion. There is a rich and a very poor population but not much in between. On the east side of the city we see spectacular mansions, wide blvds and hotels . In stark contrast the west side of the city in a dusty rubble with heaps of trash everywhere.
Thanks to our driver our trip which was to take 3 hours turned out to be a short 2 hours .It was a great highway , but I wouldn’t want to drive it as the rules were somewhat chaotic!!This road was once called Desert Highway . Today you can’t really see the desert thanks to the discovery of an underground water source. Our guide tells us , cities sprung up overnight and we can even see farmland here.
For a break we stop at what had to be the weirdest restaurant ever. It is a combination of restaurant and mini zoo. We saw ostrich , lions, and monkeys to name a few . All were held in cages , so sad . They also had huge stone ovens where they made these hage crisp pies. They smelled delicious but we passed as the whole zoo concept just took away our appetite. Filthy bathrooms completed the picture!!
Alexandria lies 220 km across the Western Desert from Cairo. Named for Alexander the Great this ancient city was originally founded in 331 BC. Its hard to imagine but for years in laid buried under the desert sands and actually some is still buried under the sea. A "new" city was eventually built on top of ancient Alexandria by Mohammid Ali the Ottoman Governor of egypt in 1801.
In the 2nd century AD the Roman Catacombs were dug beneath the surface of Alexandria.
Approx. 1750 years later a gentleman was walking with his donkey when the ground gave way and swallowed up the donkey. When the gentleman got some rope and attempted to retrieve his donkey he was lowered down into the burial chambers below. And so tourism to the catacombs began!
The catacombs have approx 100 steps that you must use to descent into the “musty and damp” catacombs but the adventure is well worth it. Unlike Paris and other cities that have catacombs, there are no bones or bodies to be seen, simply graves and statues.
It is not located exactly in Alexandria. It is a good place for a stop-over coming from Cairo. It is a mini-zoo with a mini-garden. There is a coffee-shop/restaurant inside as well. The best thing is....it is FREE....no entrance fee/charge.
The Mediterranean is what is Alexandria is famous for. The Sea is so awesome that you will be amazed watching by sitting on the shore of the Corniche in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Mediterranean is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean. On the northside is Europe, south is Africa and the east is Asia. It became the route for merchants and travellers of ancient times between the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greeks, Levantine, Roman and Moorish cultures.
The Mediterranean climate is hot, dry summer, and rainy winters. See my photos and enjoy!
We took a guided tour as part of our Egypt tour to the National Museum and found it to be very interesting. It is open from 9am - 4pm and costs 35LE for adults to enter (as of Nov. 2008), with concessions for students and children.
The museum displays many archeological finds from the last decade in Alexandria, such as coins and statues recovered from the sea. There are artifacts from Canopus and Herakleion on the ground floor. Upstairs are Islamic artifacts such as doors inlaid with mother-of-pearl, coptic stelae and friezes, tableware, jewellery and medals.
In the basement you can also find wrapped mummies and photos can be taken here and in the entire museum.
The "Bibliotheca Alexandrina" or Alexandria Library is an impressive building and an interesting place to visit. Entry costs 10LE for foreign visitors with concessions for children and students and is open from 11am-7pm, Sat - Thurs and from 3-7pm on Fridays. Bags and cameras must be left in the cloakroom. Visits to the Planetarium cost extra. There are free guided tours in different languages - details of which can be seen on the website (see below).
There is a permanent exhibition entitled "Impressions of Alexandria" which shows pictures, lithographs and maps of Alexandria from the 15-19th centuries, "Alexandria as seen by artists and travellers" and "Photographic Memory". There is also an exhibition of the famous Egyptian film-maker Shadi Abdel Salam along with other exhibitions such as "Arabic Calligraphy" and "The History of Printing".
We stayed at Renaissance Mariott in Alexandria originally for 3 days which we shortened to 2, in mid...more
I stayed at the Hotel Palestine in Aug. 2007 (not on most recent trip). It is gorgeous and have...more
I'm staying this hotel for one and a half month for business trip. Except reception ladies and...more