Travel to Alexandria – Amazing Catacombs, Forts and Museums
Today Alexandria stretches along the Mediterranean coast for several kilometres just as it did at the height of its influence during Cleopatra’s reign back in the 47BC. An important harbour for millennia at the height of its power its influence was matched only by Rome.
Named for Alexander the Great little remains of the period in which the city was founded; it was during the ensuing Ptolemaic era that the city made its fortunes before declining in the wake of civil war and famine in the 4th century. By medieval times Alexandria had foundered and it was only with the coming of Napoleon that its fortunes revived. Subsequently with great investment and engineering works the city went from a small town on the site of today’s Anfushi to rise phoenix-like to become, once again, one of the world’s greatest seaports. Today the city is known for its literary associations with both Western and Egyptian authors having based themselves here.
The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shqqafa are one of Alexandria’s premier attractions, a honeycomb necropolis lying deep underground. Vying for the number one slot is Alexandria’s second attraction, Fort Qaitbey built by a Mameluke sultan in the 1480s reputedly on the site of the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.
Some 106km west of Alexandria lies el Alamein and the cemeteries of the dead from the famous battle of the Second World War. Back in town other sights to see include the Greco-Roman Antiquities Museum which holds an assortment of many thousands of artefacts, making it one of the largest such collections in the world and the new and architecturally noteworthy Bibliotheco Alexandrina.
Divers need to be more experienced to make the most of what the region has to offer as the sites here are more technical than elsewhere in the region. As ever with more technical activities it is best to make arrangements prior to departure with a reputable provider. 4WD trips are worthwhile if more expensive than elsewhere as there is little competition and distances are greater.
A great way to relax is to have a good meal in one of the city’s many fish restaurants where the catch of the day is laid out for you to choose from. The restaurants overlooking Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour are excellent as are the atmospheric local restaurants in Anfushi.
Most people explore Alexandria on foot, using taxis for travelling longer distances within the city and taking tours to places such as al Alamein.
- Explore the deep Kom ash-Shqqafa Catacombs for a look at the largest Roman burial site in Egypt
- Enjoy the harbour view from Fort Qaitbey
- Wander the Greco-Roman Antiquities Museum and see the amazing Apis bulls