ALEXANDRIA would certainly be a UNESCO world heritage site today, if its wonderful ancient buildings and monuments had resisted time and the storms of history.
Situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the North of Africa, the city was founded by Alexander the Great around 332 BC. Alexandria was the centre of Egyptian command during the Ptolemaic period. It was one of the most important cities of the ancient world, both very wealthy and a cultural landmark. It was the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, until the Arabic conquest of 641.
Alexandria was home to the famous Great Lighthouse, 135 meters high – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, lost today. It was also home to the famous Library, lost in the great fire that followed the Roman siege. This was the largest library in the ancient world, filled with rare and invaluable manuscripts. This is where the Julian calendar was designed and where the foundations of modern geometry were laid. Like a magnet, Alexandria drew many of the great minds of those times: philosophers, poets, mathematicians, astrologers and doctors.
Among the ancient remains of Alexandria we have the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (a necropolis containing tombs, statues and cult artefacts), Pompey’s Pillar (a 30 m high and 396 tons Roman column made out of a single piece of granite, it is one of the biggest ancient monolithical columns), the Great Theatre and others.
The city is world-renowned especially due to its last Ptolemaic ruler, the famous Cleopatra. Her unique existence, spent in the luxurious palace she had in Alexandria, having as companions for a while the great leaders of Rome, Caesar and then Antony, has remained imprinted in the memory of time, Cleopatra remaining the most famous female ruler in the world.