Founded by Alexander The Great in 333 B.C. and built by Dinocratis, one of his personal architects, Alexandria is a region steeped in history and culture. The second-largest city in Egypt and economically important due to its pipelines from the Suez for oil and gas, this region also welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world. Due to the city's ancient and intriguing history, visitors to the area are offered a host of attractions and activities, such as the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, an archaeological site of such significance that it is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
The architecture and monuments in the area bear testament to its cultural diversity through the ages. Pompey's Pillar, for example, is one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected and was built in 297 A.D.. The region is also renowned for its festivals and events. Sham an-Nessim is the oldest festival in the history of the region and celebrates the coming of spring. An array of picnics are held across the city and participants are treated to live music and entertainment.
Things to Do
Today, the bustling city of Alexandria is a fusion of old and new. Excellent restaurants, colourful markets and a host of historical sites ensure that visitors are entertained throughout their stay.
For the history lovers
The impressive Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the ancient library of the city. The reading room contains more than eight million books and volumes, and beneath the library, visitors will find the Manuscript Museum, which boasts a fine and vast collection of ancient scrolls and manuscripts.
For the foodies
If you would like to sample authentic Egyptian cuisine, the head to Foul Mohamed Ahmed. This restaurant is famed for its foul -- a breakfast dish consisting of tahini, stewed fava beans, cumin, garlic and lemon juice.
For the shopaholics
Situated in the city's Market Square, Old Town farmers' Market was established in 1753 and is held every Saturday morning. In addition to fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, the market is also home to a number of artisans and craftsman selling jewellery, artwork, pottery and leather goods. Expect to haggle, and you may pick up a bargain or two.
Calendar of Events
Whatever the time of year, Alexandria hosts a variety of events and festivals; from celebrating the city's rich and diverse history to its musicians and artisans, festival lovers will enjoy one of the many events on offer.
Alexandria Film Festival. Held every September and one of the city's most important festivals of the year, the Alexandria Film Festival began in 1979 and attracts both local and international artists. Visitors can expect a series of workshops, productions and Q & A sessions with some very prominent actors.
Sham an-Nessim. Sham an-Nessim occurs every March and is the oldest festival in the city. Festival goers celebrate the coming of spring and a host of collective picnics are held across the city accompanied by live music.
Sinai Liberation Day. Sinai Liberation Day occurs in April and celebrates the withdrawal of Israeli troops in 1982. Street parties, live music and other celebrations are held across the city.