Egypt and Jordan / Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
Egypt and Jordan / Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Egypt and Jordan / The Qaitbay Citadel
The Qaitbay Citadel
Egypt and Jordan / The Planetarium
The Planetarium
Egypt and Jordan / The Great Lighthouse
The Great Lighthouse
Egypt and Jordan / St. Marks Pro-Cathedral
St. Marks Pro-Cathedral


Alexandria, one of the greatest cities ever built on the earth, is tied to some of history's largest and best-known characters. The city was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, renowned astrologist and mathematician Claudius Ptolemy made his home there, and no less a ruler than Cleopatra herself sat on the throne there. In its heyday, Alexandria rivaled Rome as the most celebrated of the ancient cities. Among its treasures was the first known library in the world, a vast repository of ancient texts called the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The city was also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Pharos Lighthouse, which guided trade ships into the city's busy port. It was in Alexandria that Cleopatra bore children to both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and there that she committed suicide after her troops were defeated.

From the fourth century AD, Alexandria's fortunes gradually declined, and when the Arabs invaded and moved the capital to Cairo, the city lost its stature. In the nineteenth century, some of Alexandria's former importance was restored when the city was connected to the Nile. Many foreigners moved to the city and it was much romanticized, but with Egypt's independence most outsiders left. Today Alexandria is a thriving Egyptian metropolis. Visitors here can stroll through modern neighborhoods and also through two-thousand-year-old ruins. Highlights include the Roman amphitheater at Kom al-Dikka; the Graeco-Roman Museum, which contains collections dating to Alexandria's founding; and one of the city's finest new attractions, a restored Bibliotheca Alexandria, which opened in 2002 as a forward-thinking homage to one of the epic creations of Egypt's past.