Alexandria, Egypt's second capital, had been one of the biggest cities in the Eastern hemisphere and a hub of Hellenic culture and science. After beginning the Persian war in 332 BCE, Alexander the Great established the city. After Alexander's demise, the Greeks occupied Alexandria for three centuries until Cleopatra's rule began. Cleopatra was a Greek and a powerful Egyptian Pharaoh. She controlled Egypt and devoted much of her time forging ties with Roman elites to prevent the Romans from conquering the country.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Now, the city of Alexandria spans the coast from east to west, and the roar of waves and the aroma of fresh seafood can be found practically anywhere in the city. Thousands of Egyptians flock to its alleys and beaches during the summer, while periodic sea storms batter the structures in winters, withering the wrought-iron terraces along the Seafront. Here's a guide on what visitors can do when visiting the famed former home of Cleopatra.

This History of the city of Alexandria And what to know about it

It used to be the most important cultural hub of the early middle ages, matching even Athens, Greece. It was also home to the Egyptian pharaohs and the renowned Library of Alexandria. It had opulent castles and shrines in the old kingdom. Ships from all across the Mediterranean landed at the twin harbor. Tragically, all of this beauty was destroyed in AD365 by a massive tsunami. Much of historic Alexandria is now submerged beneath the city and the port waters. Marine excavations in the Eastern Bay have uncovered a treasure trove of antiquities.

RELATED: Next Time In Greece, Snorkel The Sunken City of Epidauros

What should you Explore In The City of Alexandria?

Interested In Books? Visit Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the city's economic core and among Egypt's most prominent contemporary monuments. It has one of the most extensive libraries in the modern world and several museums dedicated to Alexandria's historical legacy. Its design is centered on a massive sun disc that sits atop the seaside Corniche.

The central library and its study room can accommodate eight million books inside. The Antiquities Gallery in Alexandria houses a collection that spans Ancient Egypt through the Greco-Roman period, with the highlight displays exhibiting statuary discovered during marine archaeological digs in the port.

The Manuscript Museum, located beneath the library, houses a collection of historical texts and manuscripts.

Let's Visit Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa

The Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa are carved out of stone on the southern hillside.

They are believed to date from the second century AD and provide an excellent example of the Alexandrian blend of Egyptian and Greco-Roman designs.

They are arranged on multiple layers of mausoleums and shelf tomb vaults and were found in 1900.

The main dome is reached via a spiral stairway that descends to the ground. The burial

site and the Sepulchral Chapel, which contains 91 shelf tombs, each big enough to hold three or four coffins are to the right.

The Triclinium Funebre, a spacious space to the left, could have been used for feasts in honor of the deceased.

Explore The Ruins Of Kom el-Dikka

As construction began in the 1960s around the site, the Kom el-Dikka, "Mound of Rubble" area discovered a slew of old ruins underneath it along with a small Roman theatre. Today, the site is a tiny archaeological site with relics from Alexandria's Greco-Roman era.

  • There are also ruins of a Ptolemaic chapel, a Roman bath, and many Roman-era villas with the theatre.
  • Archaeological research on the House of the Birds here revealed well-preserved third-century mosaic flooring, which was left in place.

RELATED: World's Oldest Bridge Is Still In Use & You Can See It In Greece

Learn History At Alexandria's National Museum

The National Museum of Alexandria is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about the city's rich history.

  • The collection takes visitors from the Pharaonic age to the Hellenistic period, when the Ptolemy empire, founded by Alexander the Great, ruled Alexandria and Egypt, and on to the Roman and Islamic eras.
  • The museum's main attraction is the ground-floor exhibitions of sculptures and artifacts from the undersea archaeological discoveries of the drowned port city of Heracleion-Thonis in Aboukir Gulf.
  • The gallery does an outstanding job of bringing historic Alexandria to reality, with remarkable map drawings and exhibitions that envision what the ancient city might have been like, allowing visitors to better understand the city's shifting face.

The Summer Escape Of Ras el-Tin Palace

Egypt's sultans would retire to the sumptuous Ras el-Tin Palace when the intense heat of Cairo became very much to bear.

  • It's also where Egypt's final king, King Farouk, legally relinquished in 1952 before traveling out of Alexandria's harbor and into banishment in Italy.
  • The Palace is now occupied by the Egyptian marine corps, thus its magnificent interiors are closed to casual tourists. However, the towering white front, best observed from the port water, is a must-see.

Take A Stroll In The Montazah Gardens

Montazah is a verdant paradise of tall palm trees, groomed lawns, and flowering blooms on the city's eastern outskirts.

  • Established as a hunting lodge by Abbas Hilmi in the 1890s, it was later significantly expanded by King Fuad and substituted Ras el-Tin Castle as the imperial family's summer residence.
  • The magnificent Florentine-inspired turrets and Rococo embellishments of the Montazah Palace are not accessible to visitors, but everyone is free to walk through the expansive grounds, which can be a pleasant taste of serenity after a day spent in Alexandria's bustling.

It was established by Alexander the Great. It was ruled by Queen Cleopatra. The origin and early history of Alexandria are littered with well-known names. It was a beautiful pearl of a city on the Mediterranean. Alexandria is among the top locations in Egypt to explore if visitors want to experience the splendor of a bygone era.

NEXT: Learn The Culture Of Greece: 10 Things To Know Before Visiting