The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria, known as “The Pearl of the Mediterranean”, has a Mediterranean atmosphere; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of Egypt although it is actually only 225 KM from Cairo.
Founded by 25 years old Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Graeco-Roman Egypt, its status as a beacon of culture symbolized by Pharos, the legendary lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The setting for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Alexandria was also the center of learning in the ancient world and its Great Library was considered the archive of ancient knowledge. Unfortunately, the city faced a spate of cruel blows. The Pharos collapsed and the Great Library was torched. Part of the ancient city disappeared under the sea and part under the modern city, so there are few visible remains of the glorious past.
The 19th century kick-started a cosmopolitan makeover and renaissance when Alexandria became one of the Mediterranean’s key commercial hubs. This Alexandria has been immortalized by writers such as E-M- Forster and Cavafy. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture.
Alexandria is a city to explore and It’s as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it is to see the sights.