Alexandria Travel Guide
About The City Of Alexandria
Alexandria is Egypt’s second-largest city and the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. It occupies a narrow strip of land between the Sea and Lake Mariut.
Alexander the Great founded the city in 331 BC around an Egyptian village named Rhacotis, which became the Egyptian quarter of the city. As it grew, the city was divided into five sections, including the Egyptian quarter, which was called the “Brocheon.”
During this time, the famous Pharos lighthouse was built, and the Great Library was established to hold what was the largest collection of ancient manuscripts in the classical world. Sadly, the library and much of its irreplaceable collection of literature burned in 48 BC, and the Pharos lighthouse collapsed in the 14th century AD.
After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, the city continued to flourish, becoming the capital under Egypt’s Ptolemaic rulers until the death of Cleopatra VII, when the country was absorbed into the Roman Empire. The eastern harbor was an integral area during the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, and the monuments built during that era are the most prominent standing today.
Fate dealt Alexandria a major blow in 365 AD, as many of the major ancient public buildings sank into the sea. In the 19th century, much of the remaining parts of the city were built over, so today, there are few visible remains of Alexandria’s glorious past.
Early in the 20th century, several major discoveries were made north and west of the present coastline. Due to technological advances in underwater archaeology, recent excavations have been able to bring many of the earliest monuments to light. Jean-Yves Emperdeur, Franck Goddio, and the Egyptian Supreme Council for Antiquities’ Department of Underwater Archaeology all headed up teams that have made many exciting discoveries, especially in Alexandria’s eastern harbor.
In 2015, Egypt’s minister of antiquities announced that Egypt is moving forward with its plan to build the world’s first underwater archaeological museum in Alexandria Harbor. This would make the monuments in the bay accessible to everyone without the need for diving equipment. The museum is still in the funding and logistics stage, but sewage outlets into the archaeological area of the harbor have been closed off to help clear up the murky water.
The museum will have three floors, the first displaying statues and finds onshore, the second with exhibits in an aquarium environment and the third would be a plexiglass tunnel to provide a window to Cleopatra’s sunken town. The museum is sure to be an amazing experience when completed.
Updated On April 22, 2020