It was a close call, this could have been in 'Tourist Traps'. It's pretty well advertised as such, and expecting little I took a walk and investigated. Talking a walk through a new city with a thoroughly unimportant objective comes high on my 'Things to do' list.
I was in no way disappointed. Just a rocky outcrop with some semi-excavated fragments of wall, random chunks of carved stonework. Big red granite column. A place to stand and think about how many of the great works of the past have been destroyed.
Diocletian, the man actually resposible for erecting this thing? Mixed reviews. The start of his reign, a period of bloody repression for the Christian religion, is taken as Year One, the Year of the Martyrdoms, in the Coptic calendar. On the other hand, he is the first Roman emperor to have actually retired rather than die in office or be bloodily deposed. His most striking memorial is the Byzantine aka Eastern Roman empire: he is responsible for the idea of splitting the unmanagebly huge Roman empire into two., and retired to his native Dalmatia to grow cabbages.
You will see the Sphynx down below the Pompey's Pillar which adds to the beautiful monument.
I have seen a pair of this statue which I guess looks well maintained and made the pillar one of the best attraction in Alexandria.
This monument is located at the Roman-Greek Monument site in Alexandria Egypt. The Pompey's Pillar as you can see in the photos I posted here is approximately 25m high and 9m circumference.
Its height made it the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria.
Pompey was believed to be buried on this site after he was murdered in 48 BC and that the capital atop the corner served as a container for his head. The Arabs called it Amoud el-Sawan or Column of the Horseman.
There is a hill littered with the remains of ancient walls in the southwest of the city, near the large Arab cemetery. Alexandria's largest ancient monument, Pompey's Pillar, stands there. It is rising from the ruins of the ancient and famous Serapeion (Temple of Serapis). This column of red Aswan granite with a Corinthian capital, rising to a height of almost 27m with a circumference of 9m, is traditionally believed to have been erected by the Emperor Theodosius to commemorate the victory of Christianity over paganism and the destruction of the Serapeion in 391. More probably, however, it was set up in 292 in honor of Diocletian, who supplied food for the starving population after the siege of the city.
The Arabs called it "Amoud el-Sawari", Column of the Horsemen. The Pillar is the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria.
The surrounding area includes the remains of the Serapeum temple, the “daughter” library of Alexandria and a “Nilometer” for measuring the annual Nile Floods. Nearby are subterranean galleries, where the sacred Apis bulls were buried, and three sphinxes.
Address: Ahmed as-Saweiri St., Karmouz. Tel: 4825800. Opening Times: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Entrance fee LE10 ($2).
Pompey's pillar, made of pink granite, is 30m tall and built amidst the ruins of the Serapium in 297 A.D. in honor of Emperor Diocletian originally from the Temple of Serapis. Nearby are subterranean galleries where the sacred Apis bulls were buried, and three sphinxes.
Entrance fee:10.00 Egyptian Pound.
This Pillar was made by Alexandria people as a gift to DIQLEDYANOUS (I hope I spell it right) for his forgiveness after the failed people revolution in Roman time of Alexandria. The entrance fee was 15LE in February 2007. You have to pay 5LE more if you want to bring the tripod. The main attraction will be the pillar and the sphynx. This area is still under construction for now. A rocky and dusty ground, so wear your comfortable shoes. Well, only a small area to spend your time in, not much to see too.
There is nothing much to see at this place a part from a big pillar maybe erected during roman time.The place a bit remote and burning hot during summer specially around the pillar area.However,going down from pillar area,there is a small garden which can be a shade after spending your time under the heat.The easiest way to get here is by hiring a taxi.From here you can walk to katacomb As Suhafa.
This pillar is all that remains of a huge temple. No doubt, if the entire temple remained, it would bring in scores of visitors. The temple of Serapis was built in Roman times.The site was currently undergoing excavation as we visited. There is great speculation that much lies beneath the surface to be discovered. The grounds contain some sphinxes, a roman bath site, and a few other examples of ancient art.
The admission fee is 10 EGP (May 2006). The area is not big and there is only a pillar and Sphinex and some ruins which are non-reconogisable. I suggest you saving that 10 EGP for something else. Not worth.
I saw the tall red granite column called Pompey?s Pillar from the road when I walked to the catacombs. I did not enter and did not do so when I walked back either. I looked through the gate at the entrance and decided not to pay another entrance fee. I had been told there were not much to see except the Pillar and a few sphinxes.
The Pillar was erected in 293 AD, not in honour of Pompey (the Crusader made a mistake), but in honour of emperor Diocletian. The site where the Pillar stands was once Alexandria?s acropolis, the Serapeum.
The Site:Alexandria Serapeum.
The Monument:A column raised in 300 A.D. in honour of Emperor Diocletian, who saved the city of Alexandria from a frightful famine.On the western side of the column is engraved, "To the just Emperor, the god of Alexandria, the invincible Diocletian." Nevertheless It was called Pompey’s Pillar by the French under certain mistaken impression regarding Pompey’s head.The Arabs called it "Amoud el-Sawari", Column of the Horsemen, bearing in mind or rather imagination that it might have been a base of the emperor’s statue as a cavalry on his horse.
The Material is 22 meters height and 9 meters diameter of polished red granite brought from Upper Egypt across the Nile! You will soon ask HOW? The ancient Nilometer at the site shows that the Nile Canobic Branch had been penetrating this area to its mouth at Canope (known now as Abu Qir) on the Mediterranean Coast.
The Crown is Corinthian Greek Style.
The top of the pillar’s crown was accessed in a very simple, easy but funny method: They flew a kite; when the thread reached the top, they lowered it till the ground and fastened a thick rope capable to raise people to the top…. Believe it! It isn’t a joke of mine.
In a VT meeting here, two of my virtual daughters. VT comate Mrs. Lana, in her fortnight visit to Egypt in March ‘05; and my student –the assistant curator, who graciously guided us to the Serapeum. Cordial greetings for both.*
Pompey's pillar and the Sphinx are really nice, surrounded by a fence they are protected from the busy every day life of Alex and so are you ... but still the neighbourhood is taking away something from the "ancient monument feeling" ... I guess you know what I mean
A single monolite column of granite, one of the landmarks, and the heart of the locality.
It was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in 297 AD. It's called Pompey's pillar.
Here are some things that were written about Serapeum in antique world:
"Its splendour is such that mere words can only do it an injustice but its great halls of columns and its wealth of lifelike statues and other works of art make it, next to the Capitol, which is the symbol of the eternity of immemorial Rome, the most magnificent building in the whole world. It contained two priceless libraries."
Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire (XXII.16)
"employed in its execution a mixture of various materials. For he had filings of gold, and silver, and lead, and in addition, tin; and of Egyptian stones not one was wanting, and there were fragments of sapphire, and hematite, and emerald, and topaz. Having ground down and mixed together all these ingredients, he gave to the composition a blue colour, whence the darkish hue of the image."
Exhortation to the Heathen (Protreptikos)
For a city with such a historic name as Alexandria, there is surprising little left that is intact from the city's glory days of Alexander the Great and Cleopatra.
One relic that does remain is Pompey's pillar at he Serapeum. Though this was once a mighty temple, all that is left now is the large pillar and a couple of sphinxes to adorn the hill top. (it is still possible to line up a decent picture up here, though...)
The Serapium is the site of religious rites for the ancient bull god, and the temple itself was leveled by the newly-Christian Roman empire. The best artifacts from the Serapium have been excavated and moved to the Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria.