Things Not To Miss in Alexandria And The North Coast of Egypt
The Mediterranean Sea, occupying the Northern borders of Egypt, has always played a significant role in the lives of the inhabitants of the region. Many various ports established on the shores of the sea especially, the port of Alexandria, transformed the whole region into a commercial and cultural hub since ancient times and even until today.
Over the past few decades, the North Coast of Egypt has turned into the most favorite summer resort for the elite class of Egypt. After the establishment of many summer residential resorts like Marakia, Marina, Green Beach, and Mina in the beginning and then Marassi and Amwaj afterward, most of the wealthy Egyptians spend the summer season enjoying the beaches and the nightlife of the North Coast.
Alexandria is the most important city in Northern Egypt. Since its foundation in the 4th century BC, by Alexander the Great, the city became the capital of Egypt for quite a long period of time and then a melting pot of many civilizations afterward. Today Alexandria and the whole region is featured with a number of attractions which tourists visiting Egypt should never miss.
- The Ageeba Beach
Although the Ageeba Beach, located in the city of Marsa Matrouh, 290 kilometers to the West of Alexandria, is mainly popular among the locals who spent the summer in the city, it is distinguished with a marvelous sea in Egypt. This naturally carved beach located in the middle between two high plateaus marks one of the most beautiful beaches of Egypt.
The blue turquoise color of the water and the magnificent natural scenery of the beach and the rocks surrounding it gave it the famous name “Ageeba”, which means, in the Arabic language, the place of wonders.
- The Qaitbey Fort in Alexandria
Positioned in a special place at the end of the Eastern harbor of the city of Alexandria, the military fortress, constructed by the Mamluk king and army leader; Qaitbey at the end of the 15th century, has become one of the most important landmarks of Alexandria and among the most popular touristic visits of the city.
Built using the stones of the ancient Pharaohs lighthouse, which collapsed maybe one thousand years before the building of the fort, the building appears like a sand castle from far away, despite the fact that it is an imposing huge structure.
The Qaitbey Fort is one of the rare examples of the military constructions of the Mamluks in Egypt. Although many Mamluk rulers built various castles and forts around Egypt, almost all of them were destructed with time passing by.
The fort also hosts the first mosque ever erected in Alexandria. Although the fort was badly damaged during the British attack on Egypt in 1882, many of the sections of the fort like the many chambers, the Mihrab of the mosque, and the structure as a whole survived in a fine condition until today. Enjoyed by children as much as by grownups, the fort is amazing and it also offers remarkable views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Roman Amphitheatre
The only of its type in Egypt, the Roman Amphitheater was buried under the sand for ages until in 1965 when a group of workers wanted to dig into the ground to install a pipe and they hit a metal body and afterward this marvelous theater was unearthed.
Built in the 4th century AD, the 13 marble columns of seating of the theater may accommodate up to 600 viewers. Although the structure is commonly known as the Roman Theatre, it was probably an odium where important governmental meetings used to be carried out. However, other historical records assert that it was mainly used to host pottery reciting and music performances.
Located near the Roman Amphitheater, there is also the Villa of the Birds. Constructed during the 2nd century AD, in the reign of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, this former wonderful noble residence is featured with the wonderful mosaics of the main room and it is always worth a visit.
- The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa is the largest Greco-Roman necropolis in Egypt. This large underground burial site is the most mysterious in Egypt. Established mainly in the 2nd century AD, the decorations and ornaments of the Catacombs mingle the Hellenistic and the Pharaonic elements into a special Alexandrian type; the same as many other various types of art.
The tombs were built through digging the ground to a depth of more than 35 meters and it consists of three levels. The first level of the Catacombs has a central rotunda and a wide hall which is called the Triclinium and this was where the relatives and the friend of the deceased used to gather and pay him their last respects and prayers.
From the central rotunda, there is a staircase that leads to the second underground floor which hosts a vestibule and some burial chambers. The decorations and bass reliefs reflect a mixture between the ancient Egyptian and the Greco-Roman styles in one of the rarest examples of this type of art in Egypt.
- The Library of Alexandria
Founded in the 3rd Century BC, the Bibliotheca of Alexandria was the greatest library in the ancient world which hosted the richest collections of books and manuscripts gathered from all over the world.
Historians were never certain who demolished the ancient library of Alexandria. Many scholars believe it was damaged by the Romans while many other theories noted that it was damaged by Amr Ibn El Aas during the Arab conquest of Egypt.
The library of Alexandria has revived once again in 2002 with the help of the UNESCO and the UNDP. More than 500 architects participated in the international competition carried out to choose one of them to design and construct the building and at the end, the Norwegian Snoetta Studio won and was granted to build the new library of Alexandria.
The new library covers an area of around 37,000 square meters and it has the shape of a truncated cylinder with a diameter of 160 meters and a maximum height of 33 meters.
The back and the highest, a section of the library was constructed using the strong Aswan granite and it has inscriptions and letters from all languages and a marvelous tableau.
The New Library of Alexandria which contains more than 80 million books became an unparalleled and unique cultural center to bear witness of the greatness and the significance of the city of Alexandria throughout time.