Alexandria, which is named after its discoverer Alexander The Great, is perhaps one of the most glamorous and historical cities in Egypt, if not the whole world. Previously the capital of Roman and Byzantine Egypt for almost a century, Alexandria is currently the largest seaport and the second largest city (after the capital, Cairo) in Egypt. Its location on the Mediterranean Coast is very advantageous as it allows it to serve 80% of the country’s imports and exports. It also makes the city an amazing destination for tourists searching for unique adventures.
The Royal Library of Alexandria – Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Image from: https://www.linkedin.com/ By: Heba I. Marzouk
Image from: https://www.roughguides.com/
The Royal Library of Alexandria is perhaps the most well-known tourist attraction in the city. It served as a major scholarship center where many of the most brilliant minds in the ancient world studied until its destruction by a mysterious fire around 48 BC. Some of the information stored in the library in the form of papyrus scrolls was lost in the fire. However, a new library was shortly reconstructed in another part of the city. Today, it is known as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and still functions as a library and cultural center.
Citadel of Qaitbay
Image from: http://www.stopthere.net/alexandria/
Another historical landmark in Alexandria is the Citadel of Qaitbay, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea coast. In the 15th century, it functioned as a defensive fort against the Turks who were threatening Egypt at the time, and it is considered to this day one of the most important strongholds along the Mediterranean coast. The fact that it was constructed in the exact place as the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World until its destruction by an earthquake in the 14th century, adds to the Citadel’s integrity.
The Montazah Palace and Garden
Photo by: Dennis Jarvis
In addition to harboring a large assortment of historical sites, Alexandria also contains some of the most relaxing and calming places. The Montazah Palace and Garden, for instance, is not only a historical landmark but also an amazing place to relax and enjoy the time. Built in 1892 by the last ruler of the Mohammed Ali Dynasty, the Palace was originally used as a hunting lodge, then later, as a summer palace. The architecture, as well as the design, is a rich mixture of Turkish, Florentine, and Italian Renaissance styles. The Palace is currently surrounded by expansive royal gardens (150 acres) in which visitors can smell the refreshing air of the sea and relax.
Though the Royal Library, the Citadel of Qaitbay, and the Montazah Palace are each an amazing site of their own, they are the least the city has to offer. With its shimmering sea and unique architecture, Alexandria is, as director Ralph White says, “a city that appeals powerfully to imagination.”