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Published: October 23rd 2022
After the great start the previous day at Giza and the museum it was time to hit the road, next stop Alexandria...a quick one day/night visit where we would take in three sites: the Citadel, Catacombs and Library...
Left bright and early, and were introduced to the concept of Tourist Police, where we had an armed plain-clothes policeman join us for the drive to Alexandria...wondered if it was to keep an eye on us but turns out it was for our protection: these tourist police would randomly join guided tours in transit to ensure their safety, very cool...the drive itself took about three uneventful hours before we arrived at our first stop in Alexandria: the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa...
Some history for y'all: Built in the 2nd century AD, the necropolis consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects, with many of the features blending Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural points and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages...we entered the catacombs via a circular staircase that wound around a large shaft, where I believe the bodies were lowered to reach the tomb chamber...interestingly enough there was a banquet hall where
Manuscript Museum at Bibliotheca Alexandrina
friends and family would gather at the time of burial and future visits, mere steps down to the principle tomb chamber. The carvings were interesting because of the blend of the aforementioned cultures, such as Anubis the Egyptian god of mummification and the underworld dressed in Roman garb...all in all a cool place...
Back up to the land of the living and we were off to our next stop of the day: the Citadel of Qaitbay...
Lil' more history for y'all: Built in the fifteenth century (on the site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria-which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, unfortunately damaged by earthquakes and abandoned), this defensive fortress on the banks of the Mediterranean was considered one of the most important strongholds of the Mediterranean Coast...spent a leisurely hour or so wandering around checking out the ramparts and underground passageways, views of the coastline and city were cool but at the end of the day it's an empty fort, not a whole lot here to speak of...
After a late lunch we headed back to the hotel and had the option to hit a local beach which we all agreed to...nice
Carving in the Funeral Chamber
Of a mummified Osiris attended to by Anubis, Horus and Thoth at the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
hang but crowded, just spent our time relaxing and taking in the scenery...
Checked out of the hotel the following morning and we were off to our final location in Alexandria, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria)...
Last bit o' info for y'all: Bibiliotheca is a major library and cultural centre and is a commemoration of the original Library of Alexandria, once one of the largest libraries in the world...inaugurated in 2002, it has the space to house eight million books, and also includes a conference centre, specialized libraries', four art galleries and a manuscript museum among other things...the architecture of the building itself is really cool, with the roof designed in such a way as to allow light into the library but not direct sunlight that would adversely affect the books, and a surrounding wall carved with the languages of the world. The main reading room is huge, and gorgeous, and looks like an amazing place to spend an afternoon in research or reading...there is art everywhere in the corridors and galleries, with smaller museums tucked in and around the building (including a museum dedicated to the late President Anwar Sadat which was really interesting).
favourite museum there was the Manuscripts Museum, whose main focus is the saving and maintaining of heritage, rare manuscripts and books...in a dimly lit room we were given a tour of the various manuscripts and books under glass, written in a multitude of languages in including Arabic and Latin...must say I didn't retain much of the information our wonderful volunteer guide provided but being a book lover I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the ancient texts and scripts, really beautiful...
That concluded our brief visit to this ancient capital, it was then back in the van to return to Cairo to catch our overnight train to Aswan...special thanks to Wikipedia for filling in some gaps above...lol...
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D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
We loved our time in Alexandria. So many people miss this location and we thought it was lovely. Thanks for the memories.
Thanks guys! Yeah, noticed a lot of tours do not go there, I was certainly glad we went, unfortunately didn't have time to see it proper but the Library alone was worth the trip...
Ren & Andrew
I think I would absolutely love the Bibliotheca Alexandrina too. What an amazing sounding place :)
Oh yeah, the main hall was beautifully and naturally lit, looked like a wonderful place to hang out...