Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city and its main port.
It was founded over an ancient site of Rhakotis by Alexander
the Great himself, hence bore his name. From the Ptolemaic
era, Alexandria was made the capital of Egypt until the
conquest in 641 AD.
During that period, it was a center of science and literature
shining over the Mediterranean nations. It had an atmosphere
that is different than the rest of Egypt due to the presence
of a large Greek community, therefore reflecting a Greek-oriented
culture. For the first time, the Greek language was used as
a vernacular while the Coptic
language replaced hieroglyphic
dialects by time.
The city had once two of the most important world monuments
that unfortunately vanished: the ancient library and the Pharos
described as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The library was a center of learning in the area and a desirable
destination for ancient scholars who sought knowledge and wisdom.
It was burnt and ruined in unknown circumstances. A recently
inaugurated library was built to recall the memory of Alexandria's
ancient one. The latter was built under the auspices of UNESCO
and has a unique design. It was meant to house a unique collection
of books and artifacts. It was opened in a great ceremony on
16 October 2002. On the other hand, the Pharos, the lighthouse
of Alexandria, was one of the highest monuments on earth at
that time that stood at an imposing scale. It ruined by successive
earthquakes and its stones were finally taken for building a
fort built on its site.
Alexandria is also the city were the legendary Queen
Cleopatra once lived with her lover Mark Antony. It saw
her final suicide with a snakebite.
Alexandria was the first city in Egypt to embrace the budding
religion when Saint
Mark visited it, preaching the religion, in the 1st century
AD. It remained the seat of Coptic
Christian patriarchs to the present day.
By the advent
of Arabs and the decline of the Byzantine
rule, the glamour of the city started to dim, as Arabs preferred
to shift their capital to the south neat modern Cairo.
But even after that, Alexandria remained Egypt's northern gate
and second important city.
Today the city has unparalleled collection of monuments of Greek
and Roman touch. Its beaches are always jammed with Egyptian
swimmers as the city is considered the first local summer.