Panorama of Alexandria - Alexandria Conquerors
Duration: Half Day
Founded by Greek conqueror Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria was one of the most important cities in the world in ancient times. Under Alexander’s rule, the city flourished beyond all expectations – culturally, economically and politically. This tour will enable you to travel through time during your holiday in Egypt as you explore historic landmarks such as the Roman Amphitheatre, Montaza Palace Gardens and the Qait Bey Fort on an unforgettable day of discovery.
Alexandria was the capital of the Ptolemies Dynasty, which ruled Egypt for three centuries from 305 BC to 30 BC. The last Ptolemaic Queen and Pharaoh to rule Egypt was the legendary Cleopatra VII, who was famous for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey and later between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her death marked the end of the Egyptian Monarchs, when her throne was handed over to Octavian and the Roman Empire.
You can see some of Cleopatra’s historical treasures at the National Museum, which houses a fascinating display of underwater photographs and statues from the sunken palace of Cleopatra. This once grand structure was submerged under the Mediterranean waves after the island on which it stood was destroyed by earthquakes in the 5th century. Discovered six meters underwater, the operation to salvage artefacts from the site is ongoing.
Your tour will continue onwards to the Roman Amphitheatre, which was discovered near the modern area of Kom El Dekka and excavated between 1956 and 1964. Dating back to the 2nd century AD, this well-preserved amphitheatre had a large auditorium and was once adorned with grand columns and marble terraces that were arranged in a semi-circle around the arena. It is believed to be the only one of its kind in Egypt.
Next, we drive along the picturesque Corniche (seafront promenade) until we reach the Montaza Palace Gardens. Montaza Palace was the summer residence of the former Egyptian Royal family. Although it is closed to the public, visitors are able to explore the beautiful walled gardens which are covered with lush palms and exotic flora.
On the way back to the port you will pass the magnificent 15th century Qait Bey Fort on the island of Pharos. This historic citadel was believed to have been built on the site of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria (or The Pharos of Alexandria), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Other tour highlights include the Unknown Soldier Monument and Abu El Abbas Mosque, the most important and beautiful historic mosque in Alexandria. This magnificent structure was built in 1775 over the tomb of the 13th century Spanish scholar and saint Ahmed Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi.
Before we head back, you will also visit a Papyrus Institute where the ancient art of paper making from reeds will be demonstrated. There will also be free time for souvenir shopping before returning to your hotel.
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Egypt hopes to draw more travellers this March when classic opera Aida will be performed in an open-air amphitheatre against the backdrop of the iconic Great Sphinx and Giza pyramids in the country’s capital Cairo. Based on a true story translated from ancient Egyptian papyri, the opera was originally written 150 years ago to mark the opening of Cairo’s opera house.
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A promotional video created to encourage tourism to Egypt recently won a major award. The "This is Egypt" video won the Best Tourism Promotional Video in the Middle East at the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization. The video has not been without its critics, but many people praise the video for its selection of footage.