ALEXANDRIA

CITY AT A GLANCE

Latitude 31°12’N
Longitude 29°51’E
Area 2879 sq km
Population 3,341,000
Language Egyptian Arabic
Religion Islam
Telephone Code 03

HISTORY

Due to its strategic location Macedonian, Alexander the Great established Alexandria in 332 BC. He left it to Ptolemy I to look after the administration of the city after whose death the city rose to a great height and become one of the leading cities in the world. This was the place from where Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemies, ruled in the first century BC and was subsequently defeated by the Romans in 31 BC. Romans made Alexandria their province and ruled until 642 AD, to be followed by the Arabs. The Arabs brought with them a new religion of Islam and moved the capital from Alexandria to Cairo. Egypt was ruled by the Arabs till 1517 AD and then by the Ottomans till 1798 AD. During whose reign it declined to the lowest ebb. French under Napoleon captured Egypt in 1798 AD, for a very brief period, as the British in alliance with the Turks drove them back in 1801 AD. Alexandria again regained its glory under Muhammad Ali (Turk) and his successor who followed the French. British took control of Egypt in 1882 AD and ruled here till 1947, when Egypt became an independent state.

WHAT TO DO

Explore the archaeological sights of the yesteryears or sunrays on the calm beautiful beaches. Explore the unknown world preserved in the libraries and museums of the city or spend the night in the nightclubs and discos, Alexandria is an experiment between old and new and the colours are really fascinating. Exploring the sights beyond Alexandria is also a good option.

WEATHER AND BEST SEASON TO VISIT

Egypt has an arid climate with Alexandria receiving the highest rainfall of 18.8 cm annually. Most of the rain occurs during the winters. Summer is hot and should be avoided if you plan to visit this part of the world. The best time to visit Alexandria is from October till March when weather conditions are comparatively pleasant.

ATTRACTIONS

Montazah Palace
The palace is situated at the eastern end of Al Gueish Street and comprises several buildings, most famous of them being Al Salamlek, now a luxury hotel. It was once, the summer residence of King Farouk.

Pompey’s Pillar
Located near Mahmudiya Canal, the 25 m high granite pillar supported by an acropolis. Next to it are the remains of the Temple of Isis, with all their mystic charm attached to them, certainly worth a visit. It is open daily from 0900 to 1600 hours.

Kom Al Shokafa Catacombs
This ancient Roman burial site is located near Amoud Al- Sawari Street and contains several Egyptian and Greek artifacts. It is open daily from 09:00 to 16:30 hours.

Beaches
There are several beautiful beaches in and around Alexandria. These are: Ma'amura, Montazah, Mandara, Assafra, Miami, Sidi Bishr, San Stefano, Glymonopolou, Stanley, Rushdy, Sidi Gaber, Sporting, Ibrahimia and Shatby. Abu Kir Suburb is one of the calmest beaches famous for fishing and its seafood restaurants.

Fort Qaitbey
The fort was built in the 15th century AD on the sight of and using the foundations and stones of a lighthouse destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century AD. The Lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the World at that time. Presently the site houses a Naval Museum and some archaeological remains.

Ras al-Tin Palace & Al-Anfushi Necropolis
The palace is a new construction built in the 19th century only and not open to the public. Necropolis is situated nearby and contains eight tombs from the 3th century BC.

Roman Amphitheatre
An ancient Roman site wher excavation work is still in progress it contains some of the finest remains of buildings, streets, and baths from the third century AD. The amphitheatre is open form 0900 hours to 1630 hours.

The Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina)
Founded in the third century BC by Ptolemy II, the library was once the seat of the Greek scholars; it was subsequently destroyed in the Ist century BC. At present, it has been reconstructed under the supervision of UNESCO. To visit its website click here

Museums
These apart, Alexandria boasts of a number of museums, which present some interesting facts and artifacts of the Greek, Roman, and Arabian ages. Royal Jewellery Museum and the Greco-Roman Museums are two such museums you should visit if interested in knowing Alexandria better.

IMPORTANT FESTIVALS AND EXHIBITIONS

Eid uo Fitr, Ramadan, and other Muslim festivals are observed in Alexandria as in the other places of the Islamic world. Alexandria International Film Festival is celebrated in the month of September every year and is quite popular.

PLACES NEARBY

Some of the better-known places around Alexandria that should not be missed are Al Alamien (105 km), Sidi Kir (34 km), Abu Mina (50 km), Borg al Arab (52 km), King Mariut (34 km), Maraqia Tourist Village (52 km), and Sidi Abdel Rahman Beach (127 km), all towards the west of the city.

SHOPPING

Ramleh Station is the major shopping centre in the city where you can find local artifacts as well as good international brands. Besides there are many international shopping malls, which caters to the upper segment of the local populace as well as the foreign visitors.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotels of international quality are present in Alexandria and they cater to both, the affluent travellers as well as the budget and economy range tourists. Tourist hostels and camping grounds are also available for the backpackers. Some of the good hotels in Alexandria are El Alamein Hotel, Aida Beach Hotel, Helnan Palestine, Alexandria Hotel, Ramada Renaissance, Pullman Cecil Hotel, San Stefano Hotel, Plaza Hotel, and Sheraton Montazah.

WHERE TO EAT

Being a major tourist destination, Alexandria has got some good international as well as local restaurants. All the good hotels have their own restaurants and some of them are best in the town. Renowned Egyptian cuisine like Kofta, Kebab, Mulukhia, Salad, Hamam Mashi, Tahina, Kushari and others must be tasted. Besides, you also have the option of trying some international cuisine such as Indian, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and Thai.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Air Travel Resources
At a distance of around 8 km from Alexandria is situated Al Nouzha Airport which provides a good range of services. The airport is connected to London and other important destinations in Europe and North America through regular flights. There are taxis and airport coaches available from the airport to take you to the city centre. Airport Tel: 203 4201036, 4202021

Land And Water
Self-driven cars and hired taxis are the best way to reach destinations beyond Alexandria. Buses are cheap but overcrowded and it is best to avoid them. Chauffeur driven limousines are also available.

Local Transport
You have the option of taking guided limousines, hired taxis, metered taxis, trams, and city buses, depending on your budget. Trams and buses are usually overcrowded and it is always better to avoid them. It is always better to fix the fare with the taxis drivers even if they are metered before the journey.

TRAVEL RESOURCES

Tourist Information

Ramleh Station Saad Zaghlul Street
Tel: 03 807985

Nuzha Nuzha Airport
Tel: 03 420 2021

Marine Passenger Station Alexandria Port
Tel: 03 803494

Misr Station
Tel: 03 492 5985

Hospitals

Al Anba Takla Himanot
14 Shedia St., Camp Sezar
Tel: (203) 595 2640, 595 2639

Alexandria International
Moustafa Kamel Intersection
Tel: (203) 422 5017, 420 4845

Banks

Abu Dhabi National Bank
28, Salah Salem
Tel: (203) 482 9175

Bank of America
10, Patrice Lumomba Street
Tel: (203) 491 1150

CitiBank
95, 26th July rd
Tel: (203) 483 7049

Airlines

Air France
El Nozha Airport
22, Salah Salem
Tel: (203) 421 4527, 483 8901

British Airways
15, Saad Zaghloul Square
Tel: (203) 483 6668, 482 1565

Egypt Air
19, Saad Zaghloul Square
Glym Branch
Tel: (203) 482 0778, 482 5938