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Alexandria


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Alexandria is a Graeco-Roman city founded by Alexander the Great on the site of an earlier Egyptian settlement called Raqote. During the Ptolemaic and Roman periods (c.332 BCE - CE 395) Alexandria was a thriving cosmopolitan city. By 320 BCE it had replaced Memphis as the capital of Egypt. It was essentially a Greek rather than an Egyptian city. In the late first century CE a Roman orator even went as far as to describe Egypt as a mere appendage to Alexandria.

It was the home of the Pharos Lighthouse, a 600-foot (180m) tower -- one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the model from which all the world's lighthouses were to be copied. By the 14th century successive earthquakes and long neglect had destroyed all traces of the Pharos tower. Other famous ancient buildings at Alexandria were the Library and the Museum which were burned down, along with an irreplaceable collection of papyri, in the third century CE.

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The Qaytbay FortThe Qaytbay Fort, on the very tip of the eastern harbor, occupies the site of the ancient Pharos Lighthouse. The medieval structure was built in the 15th century. Some masonry from the Pharos was used in the building and can be seen. It is now a Naval Museum.

The Roman OdeonThe Roman Odeon is a Graeco-Roman open-air theatre, the only one of its kind in Egypt. It was probably built towards the end of the 2nd century CE. Twelve rows of white marble seating radiate upwards in a semi-circle.

Pompey's PillarPompey's Pillar, one of the surviving monuments in Alexandria, is a red granite column erected by the Roman emperor Diocletian in c.CE 297. Its height, including the pedestal and Corinthian capital is 98 feet (30m).


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All pictures are Copyright 1998 - 2001 Grisel Gonzalez

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