Highlights of Alexandria - Meet the Pearl of Egypt
Duration: Half Day
Known as “The Pearl of the Mediterranean”, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city and largest seaport. Blessed with a mild, sunny climate and golden sandy beaches it is also one of the most popular tourist resorts on the Mediterranean Sea. Founded by Greek conqueror Alexander the Great in 331 BC, the city flourished beyond all expectations under his rule – both culturally and economically. The surviving ancient structures and monuments stand as a testament to this glorious period in Egyptian history. This fascinating excursion will introduce you to the city highlights on a journey to remember during your holiday in Egypt.
Steeped in history, Alexandria remained the capital of Egypt for over a thousand years and was one of the most famous cities in the world in ancient times, second only to Rome in size and wealth. Departing from the pier, you will be able to view magnificent ancient monuments and statues amongst bold contemporary architecture as we drive through the colourful streets, squares and old and new districts of the city.
Our first stop of the tour is the spectacular catacombs of Komel-Shokafa, the largest known Roman burial grounds in Egypt. Dating back to the 2nd century A.D, this extensive funerary complex was carved deep into the rock over three different levels. The tombs have been intricately adorned with funeral sculptures and friezes that uniquely combine both Egyptian and Greco-Roman art.
From here, we take a short drive to the 15th century Qaitbay Fort, one of Alexandria’s most historic icons. Built around 1480 by the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbay (Quait-bey) to defend the city against the Turks, this impressive structure was once one of the most important defensive strongholds on the Mediterranean Coast. The citadel was constructed on Pharos Island on the site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
After a short photo stop, we move onwards to the Mosque of Abu El Abbas, the most important historic mosque in Alexandria. Standing majestically on Mosque Square, this beautiful structure was primarily built in 1775 over the tomb of the 13th century Spanish scholar and saint Ahmed Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi. The mosque became a sacred place of pilgrimage for Muslims from Egypt and Morocco, who passed through Alexandria during their holy journey to and from Mecca.
Driving along the cornice, we arrive at Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), one of the most striking and unusual architectural masterpieces of the 21st century. After lunch, you will visit the National Museum, the Roman Amphitheatre in Kom El Dekka and the beautiful Montazah Palace Gardens before stopping at the Papyrus Institute to see a demonstration of the art of paper making from reeds. Free time for souvenir shopping can be enjoyed afterwards.
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