Though we are talking about tombs the Kom El Shugafa can be considered a marvel of technology and also art.
They have been built in the 1st centurt DC and the are known as the largest Roman buriel site in Egypt.
The catacombs were built to house more than 300 bodies, there is also a banqueting hall. The decorations are a a sort of fusion of Egypt, Roman and greek artworks.
Inside it's forbidden to take camera, but our guide had some really big problems in following such rules.
July 2009: This is a MUST see if youre in Alexandria. We went on a Saturday and the catacombs opened at 8am. The ticket price was 30LE. If you want to know the history of the catacombs, I suggest reading up on it beforehand as the guide had little to no english. The ticket office tries to take your camera because they dont allow photos of catacombs, but try to hold onto it as the guide will let you take photos in return for a tip at the end of the tour, we gave him 20-30LE. The catacombs are amazing, well worth a visit.
One of the main tourist sites are the catacombs that exhibit a combination of traditional Egyptian beliefs and Hellenistic changes. They are interesting but not spectacular in comparison to the more ancient tombs elsewhere in the country.
Near the tombs there is a scenic residential quarter which is on the photo. Photography in the tombs was prohibited.
The catacomb of Kom El-Shuqafa (Shoqafa, Shaqafa) is one of Alexandria's most memorable monuments. The Catacombs of Kom el-Shukafa ("Hill of Potsherds") were hewn from the rock on the southern slopes of a hill in the second century A.D. The catacombs, which may have been the burial place of a particular religious community, were discovered in 1900. They are laid out on several levels.
A spiral staircase with a large circular light shaft runs down two stories from the entrance, the lower of which is generally under water.
Off the upper level opens a rotunda with a domed roof, to the right of which are two smaller chambers with niches, sarcophagi and loculi (shelf tombs).
Open 9.00 – 17.00. Entrance fee LE25 ($5). You may see my ticket at the second pic. Photo and video forbidden.
You may watch my high resolution photos on Google Earth in Alexandria Catacombs according to the following coordinates 31º 10' 43.98" N 29º 53' 35.11" E
or on my Google Earth Panoramio Photo 1, Photo 2.
The Kom As-Shouqafa Catacombs were accidentally discovered when a donkey and cart fell through the ground revealing the underground chambers and tombs.
The tombs, on three levels, also contains the Triclinium, where relatives used to sit on stone benches to feast the dead, and a central tomb with reliefs of bearded serpents. Inside are 2nd century AD statues of Sobek and Anubis wearing Roman armour.
No photography inside though.
It is located in Kom-El-Shogafa, believed was established in 200AD. It will be located on the last end of your left from the entance gate. It looks like an underground graveyard. The catacomb was found accidently by `a digging donkey`. You have to go down through narrow and steep stairs almost a hundred steps. You can see the hole where they brought down the bodies to the underground right into the mummification case, located in the middle. From the mummification area, there will be some coridors lead you to hundreds of `corpse lockers`.After the mummification, the body will be placed in `a locker` along with its sarchopagus. When it was found, no mummies have been found. They speculated that they were destroyed by the underground water and humidity. You may see the swampy floor on many places in this catacomb. There is a room, where they found horses bone on the other side of the main area. `The lockers` are bigger and nobody know if they have been mummified too. Wear your comfortable, unslippery, light shoes when you come to this catacomb. Be ready for an exercise : climbing the stairs. :-)
The entrance fee was 25LE in February 2007. The toilet will be located on your left (facing the entrance gate) before the gate. Keep 1 or 2LE notes ready for the toiletkeepers. You may see some sarchopagus and small park before the entrance gate. You can not bring the camera after the security checking at the entrance gate. There will be two main tombs in this area, The Catacombs ( on your left last end, underground) and Tigran Tomb (on the ground, facing the entrance door). You may see some statues and handcrafts on the yard. Get yourself ready for narrow and steep stairs at the catacombs. Wear comfortable, unslippery and light shoes. Read my other tips for each tombs.
It will be located in the same complex of Catacombs. Unlike catacombs, this tomb is located on the ground, not underground. The tomb is facing the main entrance of the complex. Tigran family is believed as a royal family in Alexandria during the Roman time. You may see the mixture of Roman and Egypt art on the wall painting. The royal family was treated as the `co-ruler` for Romans when they occupied Alexandria and still had their rights as royal family among the people.
You go down to the catacombs via a spiral stairway around 35 meters. The central tomb is special. There is a head of the Medusa and ancient Egyptian gods, dress up in roman armour.
It´s not allowed to take pictures inside the area.
Entrance fee in 2005 was 20 L.E (Egyptian pound)
This place is about 5-10 min walk from the Pompey's Pillar. The site is underground and quite inpressive in its own way. Admission fee 20 EGP and strictly no camera inside. The gurad will inspect your bag to ensure that.
The catacombs Kom el Shawqafah- [Mound of Shards] are very interesting. It is a 2nd C AD burial site, with complex subterranean burial chambers. The wall pictures in the Painted Tomb are a blend of Ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman.
There is a circular stairwell, a burial chamber, a banqueting hall where visiting relatives would dine, and the Hall of Caracalla
It is quite spooky even though there are no coffins or other relics of the dead.
The tomb was discovered in1900.
Well worth a visit. Entry 12 EPounds
Photography not allowed inside
A few statues etc are displayed in the garden outside..
What are Greco-Roman catacombs doing in Egypt? The Kom Eo Shokafa catacombs were accidentally discovered in 1900 when a donkey cart fell through the grounds revealing a subterranean labyrinth of elaborate tombs from the second century AD. It really reminded me of a setting out of an Indian Jones movie. What was interesting was that besides the Greco-Roman architecture, there were also inscriptions of Egyptian jackal heads, indicating an intimate understanding of Egyptian culture and mythology by the Romans who built the catacombs.
I understand that photography is no longer allowed in the catacombs. I was fortunate that during my visit in 1996, I could take all these pictures.
It is definiately worth to visit these tombs, which were found by a donkey (!) that fell in a hole after the surface collapsed under his feet....
The tombs are rare because they include sarcofags from old Egyptian times as well as tombs for coffins from the Christian times and also place for some "amforas" that held the remains of children. One of the sarcofag rooms is very well preserved, with Egyptian-Christian-Greek mixed styles. Sorrounding this main sight there are many corridors and many other tombs to see. The circle road that lowers down to the tombs is also very interesting. Now two floors are discovered, but there is probably a third one beneath, but it is covered by groundwater, so they couldn't get to it up'til now.
NO PICTURES allowed at all, so there's no photo to attach to this tip... :(
Costs 20 EGP to enter.
The Roman catacombs are from the 2nd century AD. A spiral staircase descends to the tombs and chambers. When I visited I was first alone (later three more people arrived) and it was quite atmospheric to walk around in the complex among all the tombs cut out of the rock.
The photo is from the entrance to the Principal Tomb. I was quite surprised to see carvings of each side of the entrance of the Egyptian god Anubis (he has a jackal head) dressed as a Roman soldier.
Admission to the site is 20 pounds. To go here I walked all way from the Cornish and it was a good walk through different kind of areas.
The belief / legned, that Medusa head turned to stone anything that met its gaze, led to the representation of the head as a protective figure on shields and on walls.
In another legend Aphrodite the goddes of beauty –out of jealousy of the other charming lady Medusa- turned her face into hideous, eyes into glaring and girdles of hair into serpents. Sigh! What a pity!
This photo shows such Medusa-shields as well as the snakes to protect the sarcophagos and destroy the unwanted beings !
Ancient Egyptians adopted the “false doors at the tombs” as a clever way to deceive thieves.
The pic is imported from the mentioned site; as photos are no longer permitted inside the Catacombs.