Alexandria: Capital of Arab Tourism

By | Category: Travel destinations

Just as Europe has capitals of culture; this year, Istanbul, Essen and Pecs so the Arab world highlights a city each year. This year it is Alexandria in Egypt, a city which is more well known than visited by British and Irish tourists. It is known as where Cleopatra had her palace, where the great lighthouse was one of the wonders of the world and home of the ancient world’s largest library. Founded and named after Alexander the Great, its glory days ended centuries ago as Cairo gradually became the capital.

Today it is where Egyptian city people go for the holiday. The days when the British and Europeans seem to take over the city have gone. Today Europeans visit Cairo and Luxor or go to the Red Sea resorts.

But they miss so much. Alexandria is not really like other parts of Egypt. It is more cosmopolitan and looks more to the Mediterranean world than the rest of Egypt does.

It is being transformed by the discoveries that the French and Egyptians are finding in the harbour. Just before Christmas a 9 tone stone said to be from a complex around Cleopatra’s palace was found. Thousands of items have been found in the harbour since this joint effort began about twenty years ago and many will find their way into the new museum of the sunken city which will open in a couple of years. They have found the remains of the Alexandria lighthouse and some of the 2000 identified blocks that made up this marvel have already been lifted from the silty harbour.

But Alexandria isn’t only about history. The 8 year old Alexandria library is an architectural landmark with its glass roof and its 100 papyrus shaped columns. The sandy beaches stretch for over 140 kilometres and the cafes still retain some of their European heritage. All of which shows Alexandria as a familiar Egypt in one sense but so different in another.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: ,