Thebes of Egypt “Alexandria”

“Thebes of Egypt”.. Alexandria, the Port of Civilization, Culture, and Wonders.

Alexander the Great laid the foundation stone for the city of Alexandria, but he did not live long enough to see it completed by his successor Ptolemy I. The latter made Alexandria the bride of the Mediterranean Sea and the world’s center of knowledge and sciences in his time and afterwards. Alexandria distinguished itself from other cities in Egypt to the extent that it came to be known as “The City,” similar to the city of “Thebes” during the Pharaonic era, which was known as “No” according to the Ancient Egypt Encyclopedia (Part Fourteen) by the famous Egyptologist “Salim Hassan,” under the title “Alexandria in the era of Ptolemy I.

Alexandria ..The unique city

Alexandria is a unique city, located on a strip of land between the sea and Lake Mariout, with a port on each side of the strip. Its design, in the form of a rectangle, was created by the Macedonian engineer Dinocrates, which was the usual shape used in the design of Hellenic cities. It is likely that the wall surrounding Alexandria was ten miles long. This type of geometric design was also found in the Greek villages established in the Faiyum region. However, the illuminated streets of Alexandria with its exiting atmosphere date back to the Roman era, and what we know about Greek cities in this era is primarily due to the writings of the geographer Strabo, who lived in the first century AD. He described a large street in Alexandria, stating that it was one hundred feet wide and extended from east to west, intersecting with another street and leading to the city’s four gates. He also mentioned that a large number of streets were named after the worship of Queen Arsinoe II, the wife of Ptolemy II.


The origins of the city of Alexandria date back to centuries before Christ. It was originally a collection of scattered villages and an ancient port that extends to the depths of history. One of the most famous villages was Rakotis, a small village in the western part of the Nile Valley. The idea of uniting these islands, which were part of Greece at the time, began as a constant effort from the Persian Empire, which controlled most of the region at that time, such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine. Due to the repeated French attacks on these islands, King Philip of Macedonia, who ruled at that time, attempted to gain control of the Persian-controlled lands. He started with Turkey, then moved on to Syria, and died at this time. His son, Alexander the Great, took over and conquered Syria, then Egypt. He was warmly welcomed by the Egyptians, who were oppressed under Persian rule. This happened in 332 BC. After that, Alexander visited Memphis (now Giza) and was appointed king of Egypt. During his visit to Siwa, he was impressed by the area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mariout and ordered the construction of a city there. The Greek engineer Dinocrates was tasked with this project.


Alexander continued his series of conquests until he fell ill and did not return to the city he ordered to be built, except as a body. Therefore, the city was named after Alexander the Great.

Alexandria ..The world's first lighthouse of knowledge in history

It is considered the first educational lighthouse in history, known as the Great Library or Library of Alexandria, which dates back to more than 23 centuries before Christ. The Library of Alexandria suffered many attempts to demolish and burn it, and it actually collapsed in 48 BC. It was rebuilt in 2002 and has since been known as the Modern Library of Alexandria, which can hold over 8 million books.

The citadel of Qaitbay ..The fortress of Alexandria

Qaitbay Castle is one of the most important defensive fortresses on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was built by the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qaitbay between (882-884 AH / 1477-1479 AD) on the ruins of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria on the eastern tip of the Pharos Island (currently known as Anfoushi Island) to fortify the city of Alexandria and protect it from naval invasions.

As a result of a strong earthquake that struck the city in the year 702 AH during the reign of Sultan Al-Nasir bin Qalawun, the eastern port became the royal port of the old capital, which contained palaces, temples, and the legendary Lighthouse of Alexandria on Pharos Island, one of the seven wonders of the world. Today, this district lies dormant under the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.


The most prominent feature in the port was the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was ordered to be built by Ptolemy I Soter in 297 BC. It served as a landmark for the ancient city, and its height reached 130 meters and included a beacon to guide ships to the port from a distance of 50 km at sea, where its great fire’s light was reflected on a giant bronze mirror. Neglect plagued the lighthouse over time until it collapsed completely after a severe earthquake struck it in the 14th century AD.


The goal behind its construction was to connect the ancient world’s countries with the port on the eastern side, and Alexander ordered its construction to make the city a large commercial center with high economic value in the world.


Recent excavations in the port revealed a marble floor believed to be part of Cleopatra’s palace, as well as a temple of Isis, the Sphinx, and several statues submerged in the seabed. Excavation at the site continues to reveal many secrets and treasures of the port.


The castle was built of limestone on an area of ​​approximately 1750 square meters, surrounded by an outer wall interspersed with defensive towers, while the inner courtyard is surrounded by an inner wall, which includes a group of rooms that served as barracks for soldiers and storage for weapons and supplies.


The castle’s entrance leads to a courtyard dominated by the main northwest corner, which is a large square castle with three floors. Its four corners are occupied by half-circular towers that end at the top with prominent balconies for defending the city. We can also find a reservoir next to the tower to supply water to soldiers and horses.


Qaitbay Castle has attracted the attention of sultans and rulers throughout history due to its strategic location, where the castle witnessed many reinforcement works, expansions, and restorations, the last of which was in 2003 AD.

The Roman theater.. The music played within its walls and was used as a meeting hall during the Byzantine era.

The Roman Theater in Alexandria, located in Kom El-Dikka, is one of the Roman-era ruins and was built at the beginning of the 4th century AD. It is the only Roman theater in Egypt.

The building was discovered by chance during the excavation for the search of the tomb of Alexander the Great by the Polish mission in 1960. It was named the Roman Theater due to its design, which resembles Roman buildings. It has marble stairs and has been excavated for nearly thirty years.


The building is designed in the shape of a horseshoe or a U-shaped structure and consists of 13 rows of marble seats, numbered with Greek letters and numbers to organize the seating process. The theater can accommodate about 600 people.


The building was used as a music hall (odeon) and had an element of listening thanks to the presence of the dome and the orchestra area. In the Byzantine era, the building was used as a meeting hall (bouleuterion).


The exhibited artifacts include remnants of columns from different eras, a painting of King Seti I, a statue of King Ramses II in the form of the Sphinx, a statue of King Psamtik III in the form of the Sphinx, and a painting of a cow head on rocks.

Sawari column.. World's longest monument

One of the oldest and most famous archaeological buildings in Alexandria is the Column of Pompey, which measures nearly 27 meters in height. It was constructed between an area known as the Muslim Tombs or the Column Tombs, and the archaeological hill of Kom El-Shoqafa, above the area known as Bab Sidi Radwan.

The column was built in the 3rd century AD in honor of Diocletian and is considered one of the tallest columns in the world and the tallest memorial monument around the world. The column is made up of a single piece, with two large statues resembling the Sphinx in front of it. Visitors to Alexandria always flock to see its magnificent construction and creativity.


The Column of Pompey was mistakenly known as the Column of Pompey during the Crusades, as Europeans believed that the head of Pompey (the Roman leader who fled to Egypt to escape Julius Caesar and was killed by the Egyptians) was placed in a precious funeral jar and placed on top of the column. The column was also known as the Theodosian Column during the Byzantine era.


The name “Column of the Serapeum” dates back to the Arab era, where it is believed that the name came from the towering height of the column among 400 other columns, resembling the masts of ships, and therefore the Arabs called it “Column of the Masts” before it became known as the Column of the Serapeum.


The Column of Pompey was made of red granite, and its body is one piece, 20.75 meters long, with a diameter of 2.70 meters at the base and 2.30 meters at the crown. The total height of the column, including the base, is approximately 26.85