Alexandria & Mediterranean Coast

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Alexandria, the pearl of the Mediterranean. Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332, while he was marching along the Mediterranean coast; he stopped by a fishermen village called Rhakotis where he decided to build a new capital for Egypt, which has been named after him. Since its foundation, Alexandria remained for many centuries a center of culture radiation in the whole world. Today, Alexandria is the major summer resort of all Egyptians and the second largest city in the country. Alexandria, where Egypt and the Mediterranean blend in harmony. Al – Alamein Al – Alamein is the place where a major battle between the Axis and Allies troops took place during World War II. More than 80,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in the series of desert battles fought nearby  which helped cement Allied control over North Africa. Rosetta Sometimes it is hard to believe that this small and dusty street town once was Egypt’s most important port. Rosetta was founded in the 9th century outgrew Alexandria in importance during that town’s 18th and 19th century decline. In 1799, and while the french, Bouchard, was restoring a small fort in Rosetta, he discovered the famous Rosetta stone which led to the decipherment of hieroglyphics.

 Alexander the Great had established an empire that held the east and the west, beacuse of his death the  empire was divided among his commanders. Egypt was the share of his famous commander Ptolemy. The Ptolemaic family lasted for about 3 centures, until the defeat of Cleopatra 7th the last queen of the Ptolemaic family and Mark Antony at Actium`s battle under the leadership of Octavian. Egypt was obliged to the

 Roman provinces. The Arabs defeated the Roman by the 7th century A.D.Then the Islamic era started in Egypt.

The Graeco  Roman Museum was built in the 1893, Most of the archeological pieces date back to Graeco-Roman period and some archeological pieces from the ancient pharoanic period .

The Catacombs or Kom es-Shogafa is a rocky plateau situated between the ancient villages of Minaia el Bassal and Karmuz. The Catacombs were hewn out of solid rock on three superimposed levels. Dead were lowered down the central well of a spiral staircase by ropes.

The vestible has 2 semicircular niches, each containing a bench surmounted by a shell carved in the vaulted upper half of the niche, this opens onto a rotunda built  around a central well covered with a domed kiosk supported by 8 pillars.

Pompay`s Pillar is the biggest memorial column in Egypt. It is a huge column of red granite.The coulman is 26.85 m high including its base and capital, it constructed in honor of the Emperor Diocletian, originaliy from the temple of Serapis, once a magnificent structure rivaling the Soma and the Caesareum.

The Roman Theatre is one of the most popular mounments located in Alexandria, it may had been roofed over to serve as an Oden for musical performances, it was sometimes also used for wresting contests. The Theatre consists of 13 marble rows of white marble seats labeled by ancient Greek alphabet letters,the base is from red granite stone to hold the gravity of the building.

 Its columns are of green marble imported from Asia Minor, and red granite imported from Aswan. The wings on either side of the stage are decorated with geometric mosaic paving. At the top, two out of five chapels had survived, they weremade for rich people and they used to carry the dome, it was to protect them from rain and sun.

Villa of the Birds  was discovered by the members of the Egyptian-Polish mission during their forty years of work at Kom El Dikka, Alexandria. In 1998, a group of competent archaeologists and conservators began the work to preserve and present the mosaics to the public.

Among the few Roman houses found in Alexandria, the villa of the birds, is the best example of fascinating urban vills. It provides a rare chance to imagine city life during the Roman period when families lived here from about the 2nd century A.D. most of villa`s mosaics were laid during the reign of Hadrian.

 The Roman house known as The Villa of the Birds is named after the exceptional pavement depicting nine recognizable birds: pigeons, peacock, parrot, quail and water hen. A mosaic surface of 110 ms created by ancient artisans using different techniques to adorn floors are actually preserved as fire had damaged the mosaics in the late third century AD. 

The villa`s entry lies buried to the south and its private bath lies to the east. Rooms are arranged around an open courtyard that provided light and air circulation.

Alexandria National Museum sets a high benchmark for summing up Alexandria’s past. With a small, thoughtfully selected and well-labelled collection singled out from Alexandria’s other museums, it does a sterling job of relating the city’s history from antiquity until the modern period.

Housed in a beautifully restored Italianate villa, it stocks several thousand years of Alexandrian history, arranged chronologically over 3 floors. Well written information panels throughout provide useful insights into the 

life and beliefs of Alexandrians through the centuries.

The ground floor is dedicated to Graeco-Roman times, and highlights include a sphinx and other sculptures found during underwater excavations at Aboukir. look for the small statue of the Greek god Harpocrates with a finger to his lips, he ws morphed from the original Egyptian god Horus. Also check out the beautiful statue of a Ptolemaic queen, with Egyptian looks and a Hellenistic body.

The basement covers the Pharaonic period, with finds from all over Egypt. the top floor displays artefacts from the Bayzantine, Islamic and modern periods, with coins, Ottoman weapons and jewels. Don’t miss the exquisite silver shield. Early coexistence of Alexandria’s major religions is represented by a carved wooden cross encircled by a crescent. 

This massive 30m column looms over the debris of the glorious ancient settlement of Rhakotis, the original township from which Alexandria grew. Known as Pompey’s Pillar, for centuries the column, hewn from red Aswan granite, has been one of the city’s prime sights: a single, tapered shaft, 2.7m at its base and capped by a fine Corinthian capital. The column rises out of the sparse ruins of the temple of Serapeum, a magnificent structure that stood here in ancient times.

The column was named by travellers who remembered the murder of the Roman general Pompey by Cleopatra’s brother, but an inscription on the base (presumably once covered with rubble) announces that it was erected inAD 291 to support a statue of the emperor Diocletian.

Underneath the column, steps lead downwards to the great temple of Serapis, the god of Alexandria. Also here was the ‘daughter library’ of the Great Library of Alexandria, which was said to have contained copies and overflow of texts. these scrolls could be consulted by anyone using the temple, making it one of the most important intellectual and religious centres in the Mediterranean.

In AD 391 Christians launched a final assault on pagan intellectuals and destroyed the Serapeum and its library, leaving just the lonely pillar standing. The site is now little more than rubble pocked by trenches and holes, with a couple of narrow shafts from the Serapeum to explore below, afew sphinxes and a surviving Nilometer (a structure used to measure and record the level of the Nile in ancient times). The pillar on top is the only ancient monument remaining whole and standing today in Alexndria.