ALEXANDRIA

ALEXANDRIA

Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC. Alexander’s chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. However, more recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination predate this claim by two millennia.

Alexandria was the intellectual and cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks, Jews and Syrians. The city was later plundered and lost its significance.

Just east of Alexandria (where Abu Qir Bay is now), there was in ancient times marshland and several islands. As early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was recently rediscovered under water.

An Egyptian city, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore also, and later gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language . It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city. After Alexander’s departure, his viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the expansion. Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy Lagides succeeded in bringing Alexander’s body to Alexandria, though it was eventually lost after being separated from its burial site there.

Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing Alexandria’s continuous development, Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became Egypt’s main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds.

Alexandria was not only a center of world, but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population’s three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian.

In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami an event annually commemorated years later as a “day of horror.

In 619, Alexandria fell to the Persians. Although the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered it in 629, in 641 the Arabs under the general ‘Amr ibn al-‘As captured it during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, after a siege that lasted 14 months.

After the Battle of Ridaniya in 1517, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and remained under Ottoman rule until 1798. Alexandria lost much of its former importance to the Egyptian port city of Rosetta during the 9th to 18th centuries, and only regained its former prominence with the construction of the Mahmoudiyah Canal in 1807.

Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798. French troops stormed the city on 2 July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of a British expedition in 1801. The British won a considerable victory over the French at the Battle of Alexandria on 21 March 1801, following which they besieged the city, which fell to them on 2 September 1801. Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman governor of Egypt, began rebuilding and redevelopment around 1810, and by 1850, Alexandria had returned to something akin to its former glory. Egypt turned to Europe in their effort to modernize the country. Greeks, followed by other Europeans and others, began moving to the city. In the early 20th century, the city became a home for novelists and poet.

In July 1882, the city came under bombardment from British naval forces and was occupied.In July 1954, the city was a target of an Israeli bombing campaign that later became known as the Lavon Affair.

Europeans began leaving Alexandria following the 1956 Suez Crisis that led to an outburst of Arab nationalism. The nationalization of property by Nasser, which reached its highest point in 1961, drove out nearly all the rest.

Source: wikipedia.org

SIGHTSEEING IN ALEX….

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Explore the rich history of Alexandria; tracing time from its ancient Egyptian roots, through the Classical period, to Roman times and beyond on an informative full-day or two days tour from Hurghada.

Begin the journey with a visit to the Roman theater in Kom El-Deka; a marble theater that once seated 800 spectators with galleries, sections of mosaic flooring, and a pleasure garden, all surrounded by Roman baths and villas.

Continuing, explore the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa; the necropolis of 3 sub-levels dating from the 2nd century AD merges aspects of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman culture in its features. See the Roman triclinium – a banquet hall to honor the dead, as well as statues, reliefs, and a pillared lobby featuring depictions of Egyptian gods in Roman armor.

Next saunter the lush Montaza Gardens, and see the site of the Alexandria Library. Concluding the tour, walk the ramparts of the 15th century Qaitbay Citadel, built upon the ruins of the ancient Alexandria Lighthouse.

That itinarary could be done in one or two days…

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