|Spread along the Mediterranean coast, Alexandria is Egypt's
principal port and second city. The city is older than the capital having been
founded by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 332 B.C. Alexander the Great and
Cleopatra being its key figures, Alexandria is also famous for its ancient
library, and the towering Pharos lighthouse - counted by the ancients as one
the Seven Wonders of the World.
Points of Interest
- Fortress of Qaitbey
This neat little fortress looks as though it was built for toy soldiers of days
gone by. It has the most perfect location too, cast out on a spindly arm far
into the Eastern Harbor. Long devoid of any military function, the place now
serves as a small naval museum. But, this being Alexandria, it is even more
exciting to know that the fortress occupies the site of the Pharos lighthouse,
one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the Word.
- Bibliotheca Alexandrina
A striking piece of 21st century architecture that is pure high-tech. While
simultaneously evoking the glory of the ancient Ptolemaic capital, the new
Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the largest and most advanced library in the Arab
world, and it has helped put the city back on the map.
- Mahmoud Said Museum
A pioneer of Egyptian modern art, Mahmoud Said was honored in 2000 by the
opening of a museum of his works in the eastern suburb of Gianaclis. The
museum's setting, a beautiful Italianate villa in which the artist once lived,
is also worth seeing. Said (1897-1964) was born into an aristocratic family,
the son of a former prime minister, and trained in law. He painted only as a
sideline while pursuing a career in law that culminated in his appointment as a
- Montazah Palace Gardens
Traditionally, Alexandria has always been the favorite place of escape for
Cairo citizens during the punishing hot summer months. Vacation apartments line
the seafront, blooming into life each July and August. Egypt's rulers valued
the cooling sea breezes too, and at the far eastern end of the Corniche, at the
point where the city stops 11 miles (18 km) east the center, Khedive Abbas
Hilmy II (R.1892-1914) built Montazah as a royal summer residence.