After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided among his generals. Ptolemy became King of Egypt and founded with his successors the dynasty of the Ptolemies who reigned for three centuries(323 – 30B.C.)
After the defeat of Queen Cleopatra VII in the battle of Actium(30 B.C.) by the general Octavios, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire. During this period, which is called the Greco-Roman period, Alexandira was founded and became the capital and therefore the most important city of the whole empire.
Alexander has chosen the small village of “Rakotis” for the foundation of the new capital that was created during the reign of PtolemyII. The island of Pharos, situated to the north of the city, will be connected to the city by one mile causeway called the Heptastation. This causeway will become part of the modern city and will create two ports, to the east “Portos Magnos” and to the west “Portos Eunostos”.
The city was divided into five districts each named after one of the letters of the Greek alphabet. The inhabitants of the city were divided into three groups: the Greeks, the Jews and the locals(artisans, workers and farmers).
The Pharos of Alexandria.
It started under the reign of Ptolemy II. It was 120 m high. After several earthquakes, the Pharos disappeared and the fortress of Kait Bey was built instead in the 14th century.
The famous library of Alexandria does not exist anymore. Hundred thousands of manuscripts caught fire and were transferred to other libraries. The library must have disappeared long before the third century since the historians of that era never mentioned it. In 2005, the new library was inaugurated thanks to more than 30 nations.
1)Kom El Shokafa: The catacombs that date to the 2nd century are unique in their plan and decoration. They represent the fusion of Egyptian and Greco Roman art.
2)Mostafa Kamel: These tombs also show the fusion of Egyptian and Greco Roman arts in addition to the Christian influence.
Built between the second and the fourth centuries. It was discovered in the sixties. After its reconstruction, nowadays it contains many statues discovered recently at underwater excavations.
A huge red granit pillar dating from the reign of Diocletian. It takes its famous name at the 15th century.
Embracing all pieces found during the excavations since the beginning of the 20th century. Some statues are preserved in a perfect state. One should not miss the “Tanagras”. Actually the museum is closed for restoration.
The National Museum
The American Council has been transformed into a museum gathering a small but beautifully exposed collection of chefs-d’oeuvre.
The Fortress of Kait Bey
Built during the 15th century at the site of the library. Kait Bey, the Mamlouk Sultan, wanted to protect the Mediterranean coast from the Ottomon attacks.
El Morsi Aboul Abbas Mosque
Excellent example of the beauty of the 19th century moslem architecture, thoughit was designed by an Italian Architect!!
The Gardens of Montazah
Surrounding the historic palace of the Egyptian royal family built by the beginning of the century. Some rare plants and trees have been planted in this immense surface.