Alexandria The city of Beauty
"A love wave on the Egyptian land"
When Alexander the Great came to Egypt in 332 B.C. Egypt was under the Persian rule. After he defeated the Persian emperor Darius, Egyptian welcomed him as the liberator from the Persians. He was then given the title son of Amon, and king of the universe by the priests of Amon.
Alexander respected the Egyptian culture and religion. However, he installed a Greek government to oversee the country.
Just before he departed Egypt, he was taking a walk by a village named Raqoda (Rhakotis) where he saw that there is a place where land comes to the island of Pharos. There he ordered a bridge to be built to connect the village with the island and be named after his name Alexandria.
Alexandria was built in 331 B.C. It was meant to be an economic capital for the ancient world. For a significant amount of time the city was considered an intellectual and culture center.
Alexandria is one of the oldest cities in the entire world. And it is a city that is filled with wonders and special places that you have to see at least once in your life time.
Attractions in Alexandria
Since its establishment, Alexandria has always been a destination for people from all over the entire world. There are a lot of sightseeing in Alexandria for the sore eyes. When you arrive to Alexandria, you will be regarded with a lot of history and modern sites that you will be amazed by how much history there is in this city.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria Library)
Once upon a time, there was a huge library at the shore of Alexandria. It was called “Alexandria Library”, it was built to be a cultural vessel for the whole world. However, the old Library of Alexandria was burnt twice once by the hands of Julies Caesar, and the other one by the hands of Emperor Theodosius.
The current Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) contains some of those books preserved in glass. However, you can browse the content on the tablets attached to them. Most of them are philosophical books and religious manuscripts (Pharaonic and Amazigh religions).
When it was first burned by Julius Caesar in 48 B.C. It was to destroy the Egyptian identity so that he can enslave Egyptians to work in Rome.
Then it was restored and A newer one was built soon after that, and it was said to have contained about 70% to 80% of the original manuscript and was dubbed the daughter library.
uring the reign of Emperor Theodosius, as a Nicene Christian himself, he saw that science and art existing in the library is a form of heresy and opposed God’s will and Christianity as a general. So, he ordered the library to be destroyed completely in the year 389 AD.
However, some people escaped with some manuscripts and kept them secretly away from the Alexandrian Church and Church Knights. It was not until Arabs entered Egypt that the Caliph Omar Ibn Khattab ordered the search for lost manuscripts of Alexandria library was established. The conquest did not succeed much as almost everything was destroyed by the hands of Emperor Theodosius. However, some manuscripts and books were saved. And those are the ones displayed now in the current Library.
The current Bibliotheca is built at the same place as the ancient one.
When you visit it, you can request a professional tour guide to take you through the library and tell you the whole history. The tour costs around $13 and lasts from 2 to 3 hours in general.
Located at the heart of Alexandria, the Shallalat gardens are the lungs of the city.
Built on the ruins of the old Roman western wall, and occupying a total of 10 acres, it is a place you would like to visit with your family when you come to Alexandria.
It was designed by the French engineer Monfront by orders of Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt in the 19th century.
Shallalat Gardens contains small waterfalls (Shallalat in Arabic means waterfalls) with a big artificial bond with animals like ducks and swans in it. It has green areas where activities like tango dancing, hula-hoop and picnics take place. It also contains the remains of Alexandria ancient west wall that was constructed by the Romans, and reestablished by Arabs. Moreover, the gardens are considered a safe zone for children where that can play with animals, or in the playground areas inside.
The Gardens are free to enter and activities there are free too.
The Fort of Qaitbey
This fort was built in the year 1480 by the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbey. It was built on the Eastern harbor of the city. It is its first line of defense from the East.
The fort was built on the ruins of the old Alexandria Lighthouse, which was destroyed by an earthquake in the year 1303. Sultan Qaitbey ordered that the fort is built using the ruins of the lighthouse that was still scattered around the area.
ntering the fort is as low as $5 and it works from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. Inside the fort, you will see old artifacts from the Mamaleek era.
Abu Al Abbas Al Morsi Mosque
The mosque of Abu Al Abbas Al Morsi was built on the grave of the sufei Sheikh Abu Al Abbas. He was an esteemed sheikh that has helped people pf Alexandria greatly, they decided to honor him by building this mosque on his tomb. The first mosque was built in the 13th century. Then came the French expedition when they destroyed the mosque in the battle of Alexandria. After that the mosque remained in ruins until the 19th century men Ibrahim basha, son of Mohamed Ali, came to Alexandria and ordered the rebuilt of the mosque.
You can enter the mosque for free and see the architecture wonders inside. However, make sure that you do not enter at times of prayers as people will be busy praying and walking while praying in mosques is a huge disrespect sign. Also, don’t forget to leave your shoes outside when entering.
Some of things to do when you get to Alexandria
Here are some things you can do:
- Go for a walk on the Cornish and enjoy the beautiful sea view.
- Go visit the Citadel of Qaitbey
- Go visit Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- Visit the Alexandrian Museum.
- Go downtown (Mahatet El Raml) and enjoy the old city of Alexandria.
- Chill at one of the many cafeterias by the beach.
As you can see, these aren’t the usual “tourist” places to visit, these are the truly cool and unusual places to visit.
So you get to visit the city like a local and see the best bits.