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The second largest city and the main port of Egypt, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates (332-331 BC) on the sight of an old village, Rhakotis, at the orders of Alexander the Great . The city, immortalizing Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cutural, intellectual , political, and economic metropolis, the remains of which are still evident to this day.
Founded over 2,300 years ago, Alexandria, Egypt has stood witness to the rise and fall of civilizations, maintaining it's unique character and ageless charm. Today, Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city, with a population of over 3 million, and it is the country's main seaport. Located on a narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the lake Marotis and 223 kilometers(135 miles) from Cairo, Alexandria has a history as rich and varied as Cairo's.
Alexandria was the capital of Greco Roman Egypt, and it remains the repository of such historical treasures as the Greco Roman Museum, Roman Amphitheatre and Catacombs. With it's laid back Mediterranean feel, Alexandria offers the traveller a wealth of activities. Using the newly restored Corniche(promenade along the sea coast) you are within walking distance of most of the city's sights. Below are just a few interesting historical sights to be seen!
The Catacombs are the largest known Roman burial sight in Egypt, consisting of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the rock to a depth of about 35 meters(115 feet). Constructed in the 2nd century AD, probably as a family crypt, they were later expanded to hold more than 300 individual tombs. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funeral feast.
This is the only Roman amphitheatre in Egypt, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. Also known as the Roman Theatre, it was discovered in 1963, when the foundations for a new apartment building were being dug. The terraces, arranged in a semicircle around the arena, are extremely well preserved. An earlier theatre is believed to exist underneath the Medical University.
Above water, the newest attraction is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina . The ancient library was founded by Aristotle's pupil, Demetrius of Phalerum, in the fourth century BC. By the middle of the first century BC, the Library contained perhaps 700,000 manuscripts on papyrus, all fully catalogued with a summary of their content and shelved alphabetically by author.
Fortress of Qait Bey
The fortress of Qait Bey is located on the island of Pharos. This impressive 15th century fortress stands on the sight where the Great Lighthouse (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) once stood. Recent discoveries around the fortress have revealed many more artifacts, some of what experts believe may be parts of the Great Lighthouse.