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Things to do in Alexandria

Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria is the second largest city of Egypt and the economic centre, which extends for 32 km along the cost of Mediterranean Sea. Being a bustling city, it is filled with activities and adventures for tourists to come and explore. From libraries to museum, music to aquariums you wouldn’t get bored here.

Alexandria Egypt

When in Egypt, you must not miss out on Alexandria. This is the largest city in Egypt and offers a great Mediterranean experience. There are so many attractive things to do in Alexandria that makes this city a gem of Egypt that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. This city is quite different from other cities in Egypt and has a unique culture and ambience that attracts tourists from all over the world. If you are looking for a trip filled with enjoyment, then you will find many exciting things to do in Alexandria. This breathtaking city was founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, which is the reason it is named after him. The city which was once a cultural hub for Pharos turned into a fishing village when Napoleon took over the land. You will come across plenty of interesting things to do in Alexandria including the Royal/Ancient Library of Alexandria. This is one of the oldest and largest ancient libraries. It is said that this library was made for Muses, who was one of the nine goddesses of beauty and art. This library was built in 3rd century BC, but was burned in 48 BC, resulting in the loss of all the ancient Greek and Egyptian artifacts and documents. The Montaza Palace is one of the most loved things to do in Alexandria. It is situated on a plateau and offers picturesque views of the ocean. You will witness royal gardens, Florentine and Turkish architecture, and beautiful French furniture in this palace.

Tourism in Egypt

Alexandria was one of the main attractions for summer tourism in Egypt before Sharm el Sheikh but it never lost its charm. If you are interested in history and archaeology, then you will find plenty of things to do in Alexandria. When in this gorgeous city, keep Alexandria National Museum on top of your list of things to do in Alexandria. This outstanding museum offers some amazing displays and artifacts of the Greece, Roman, and Pharaonic period. The ground floor of the museum features artifacts and displays from the Greece and Roman period. Your list of things to do in Alexandria should also include witnessing the statue of the Greek god, Harpocrates, seen with a finger on his lips. And if you head to the basement, you will find artifacts from the Pharaonic period. If you want to explore the best historical sites, you will find many things to do in Alexandria including the Fort of Qaitbay. This is a 15th century structure that was once used as defense. This is the site where you will find the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was one of the 7 wonders of the world in the ancient times. There are so many things to do in Alexandria that you trip here will always be packed with excitement. One of the top things to do in Alexandria includes a visit to the Corniche. This tourist resort is located next to the eastern harbor and offers some impressive views to the visitors. You can also choose to fish on the beach or simply take a joy boat ride were people sing along traditional Egyptian songs and share food!


Things to do in Alexandria - Library of Alexandria

The Royal/Ancient Library of Alexandria was one the oldest, largest and most significant of all libraries of the ancient world. It was located in Alexandria, Egypt. According to Egyptian mythology, this library was dedicated to Muses - one of the nine goddesses of art and beauty.

Construction began in the 3rd Century BC. The initial plan was to create a library for archives and ancient manuscripts. During the Roman conquest, however, the library was expanded to include several lecture halls, a meeting room, a small garden and a collection place for various artifacts.

Under the patronage of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the library flourished. Ptolemy I Soter, a general from Macedonia and eventual successor to Alexander the Great, is considered to be the man who envisioned the library. During his tenure, the library served as an archives gallery and stored various papyrus scrolls from ancient Greek era.

Unfortunately, the library was burned down at some point in 48 BC. The burning of the Library of Alexandria resulted in the loss of several artifacts and historical documents that could have provided an insight to the lives of the early Greeks and ancient Egyptians.

It is unknown as to who caused the fire. However, some of the remnants of the library were saved and preserved to this day.


Things to do in Alexandria - Alexandria Montaza Palace

Montaza Palace is a large palace located in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. It is situated on a low plateau towards the East in central Alexandria. The palace is located close to the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and was constructed during the times of Khedive King Abbas II in 1892.

Montaza Palace was initially used as a hunting lodge for the ruler and his entourage. It was expanded by King Fuad I in 1932 who ordered the addition of the Al-Haramlik Palace along with the royal gardens, making it a Summer Palace. The design of the palace reflects a mixture of Florentine and Turkish architecture. It has two towers, one of which rises high above the palace. The palace contains open passageways with arches that face the beaches. It was richly furnished with French furniture and Rocco and baroque elements as well as many other decorative items including plants and precious antique items.

Al-Haramlik Palace along with the gardens is open for public. A museum is located inside the palace that houses objects of art and various other collections of historical significance. It is an amazing site for the tourists where they can learn about the modern historical legacy of Egypt.


Things to do in Alexandria - Citadel of Qaitbay

Citadel of Qaitbay, also known as the Fort of Qaitbay, is a 15th century fort that is located along the coast of Alexandria in Egypt. The fort was constructed on the order of Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa'it Bay in 1477 AD. It is located on the eastern part of the Pharos Island at the mouth of the Eastern Harbour.

The fort served as an important part of the defensive fortification in Egypt. It is also located on the exact site of the Lighthouse of Alexandria that was once considered the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The original lighthouse built by Alexander the Great was destroyed during successive earthquakes in the area but visitors can see remains of the ancient lighthouse at the site of the Citadel. The large stones of the citadel and the red granite columns of the Mosque located within the walls are considered to have been salvaged from the lighthouse tower.

The Citadel of Qaitbay had once served as a rest house for the royal family. It turned into a Maritime Museum after the Egyptian revolution in 1952. The place is popular among tourists that enjoy the pleasant sea views, ice cream shops, and restaurants that line the fortress streets.


Things to do in Alexandria - Alexandria National Museum

The Alexandria National Museum is situated in Tariq Al-Horreya Street in Alexandria, Egypt. It is located inside a restored Italian style palace that previously served as the US consulate office. Alexandria has always remained the cultural hub during the periods of successive dynasties. The National Museum in Alexandria was established in 2003 to display the rich heritage of the city.

The museum contains more than 1,800 ancient artifacts and relics, each of which narrates a story about Alexandria and Egypt. The pieces on display in the museum were collected from different museums in Egypt. Visitors can browse through artifacts belonging to the period of ancient Egypt, Coptic, Hellenistic and the Muslim rule. Some of the objects on display in the museum include ancient canopic jars, statuary, weapons, jewelry, coins, clothing, glassware and remnant pieces of ancient ruins.

The Alexandria National Museum transmits a cultural message to the visitors about the rich historical legacy of Egypt. The place used to be the cradle of civilization and one of the super powers of the world. Visitors can learn about the rich history of the region by looking at the various items on display in the museum. Taking pictures is allowed inside after purchasing a permit from the entrance.


Things to do in Alexandria - El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque

El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque is a famous mosque located near the eastern harbor in Alexandria, Egypt. The mosque is dedicated to the 13th century Alexandrian Sufi named saint El-Mursi Abul Abbas whose tomb is enclosed inside the mosque. The mosque features the Ayyubid architectural design with four different shaped sections and two different openings overlooking the square - one on the north and the other on the east side of the mosque.

The mosque is situated near the Citadel of Qaitbay in the neighborhood of Anfoushi in Alexandria. It has undergone several renovations after its construction in the 1300s. Various rulers have built tombs inside the mosque next to the saint. The present structure mostly dates from 1775 when an Algerian Sheikh had funded an expansion of the structure. It was periodically renovated over the centuries with the most recent renovations taking place in 1943 under the orders of King Farouq I of Egypt.

The ceiling of this magnificent mosque contains an octagonal shaped skylight known as Shokhsheikha. The skylight is comprised of three aluminum framed colored windows of arabesque designs and surrounded by four domes placed over the mausoleums inside the complex. It is a great place to learn more about the culture and traditions of the local people.


Things to do in Alexandria - Corniche Alexandria

The Corniche in Alexandria is a popular tourist resort located along the Eastern Harbour. It is a waterfront promenade that was designed by an Italian Egyptian architect by the name of Pietro Avoscani in 1870. At the west end of the Corniche is located the Citadel of Qaitbay, which is a historical monument and a famous tourist attraction in Alexandria.

During the early 1900s, a large strip of land was reclaimed from the sea that now forms part of the Corniche. A stroll along the beach feels quite refreshing and pleasant here. Visitors can admire the majestic Mediterranean Sea as the cool breeze sweeps across the area. A number of visitors come to the beach with fishing rods in hand and fish for hours while sitting on the rocks. Others take a small boat to the middle of the sea to fully enjoy the beauty of the sea at close proximity.

Due to its location near the center of Alexandria, the place is buzzing with activity. Visitors can find various restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and other entertainment options that are dotted near the area. There are also ample opportunities to take photos here. The Corniche is simply spectacular and a must visit in Alexandria.


Things to do in Alexandria - Royal Jewelry Museum Alexandria

The Royal Jewelry Museum is located in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. A palace stood at the place that was converted into an art and history exhibit in 1986. It had undergone extensive renovation and expansion during later times.

The museum contains various exhibits of historical importance. Visitors can find a vast collection of magnificent jewels that belonged to the treasury of Muhammad Ali Dynasty that ruled Egypt from 1803 until the Egyptian Revolution. Also, there are 19th-century statues, paintings, and ornamental artworks on display in the museum.

After the Egyptian revolution, jewelry and art pieces that belonged to rulers of the previous dynasty were kept at a secret and secure place until the President Hosni Mubarak issued a decree to house them in the Princess Fatima Al-Zahra's palace in Alexandria. This palace that covered an area of 4,185 meters and surrounded by lush green gardens was constructed in 1919. It was decorated with artworks that depicted various natural and historical scenes. Windows of the palace were adorned with elaborately designed glass artwork.

The Royal Jewelry Museum is located in Ahmed Yehiya Pasha St., Zizinia in Alexandria. It is opened daily from 9 am in the morning till 5 pm in the afternoon.


Things to do in Alexandria - Alexandria Aquarium Egypt

Alexandria Aquarium located in Alexandra, Egypt is a small aquarium that was built in 1930. It is located near the Qaitbay fort on the Eastern Harbour in Al-Anfushi Bay, Alexandria. The aquarium contains various marine species collected from the Mediterranean as well as the Red Sea near Egyptian coastlines. It also contains several freshwater species collected from the river of the Amazon and the Nile.

The marine and freshwater species on display range from fishes to turtles and the crustaceans, such as crabs, lobsters, and barnacles. There are also mummified remains of dolphins, sea cows, turtles and other fishes. A large whale skeleton is also located inside the museum.

The aquarium contains a series of underwater tubes that extend down into the waters of Alexandria. Visitors can view works carried out by marine researchers while studying the marine life. The research work is conducted by the Marine Research Institute whose offices are located here. The institute performs researches and offers presentations on underwater marine life as well. Visitors have to pay a small entrance fee to enter the museum though. But it is a good place to visit for those that are interested in marine life and especially for zoology or marine biology students.


Things to do in Alexandria - Stanley Bridge Alexandria

Stanley Bridge is situated near the city center in Alexandria in Egypt. The bridge is located along the corniche over the Stanley Bay. Taking a stroll on the bridge offers a unique experience to the visitors visiting the historical city of Alexandria.

The bridge is not that old and is not part of the cultural legacy of the city. In fact, it is a relatively recent construction that was built to expand the road leading to the corniche. The narrow two-way road that had previously led to the beach became frequently congested causing frustrations for the tourists. The previous governor of Alexandria decided that the best solution to the traffic problem was to build a 400-meter bridge over the Stanley Bay that opened out on the Mediterranean sea.

The design of the bridge looks traditional, though, with towers having arched windows and openings. The bridge contains four towers that are built to compliment the architecture of the royal Montaza Palace located nearby. Visitors with fishing hooks in their hands also line up on the bridge waiting patiently for their catch. In addition, visitors take photographs next to the iconic bridge as a reminder of their visit to Alexandria.


Things to do in Alexandria - Pompey's Pillar Alexandria

Pompey's Pillar is located in Alexandria, Egypt. It is a Roman triumphal column that was the largest of its kind that was built outside the imperial capital. The structure is the only known free-standing column that was constructed without the use of drums and is one of the largest ancient monoliths ever constructed.

The massive 30 meters column was actually built in 297 AD to mark the victory of a Roman emperor over Alexandrian revolt. It looms over the ruins of the ancient Rhakotis settlement from where Alexandra expanded. The column itself was built from the red Aswan granite and had remained the prime site in Alexandria for centuries.

The name of the column has an interesting history. Western travelers who visited the area in the past had assumed that the column was built to mourn the death of a Roman general named Pompey who was killed by the brother of Queen Cleopatra. Hence, it became popular by this name in the west. However, an inscription at the base of the column later revealed that the statute was actually erected much later to commemorate the victory of Roman emperor Diocletian. When taking a taxi, visitors should mention the Arabic name for the structure, which is Amoud el-Sawari or Column of the Seas.