Alexandria: A history lover’s guide

Egypt has history aplenty, but Alexandria is a real ancient wonder. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’, the country’s second largest city is often overlooked in favour of tourist hotspot Cairo. But those who don’t book their flights to Alexandria are missing out on a wealth of exciting Egyptian culture.

Alexandria-port

What makes Alexandria so legendary? Here are just a few reasons:

  • The port city was founded in 331BC by Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire.
  • It was later ruled by one of the most famous female rulers of all time, Queen Cleopatra.
  • Pharos lighthouse (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) once marked its harbour entrance.
  • The city’s Great Library held the ultimate collection of ancient knowledge within its walls, rivalling Rome as a place of culture and intellect.

The old-age wonders and archaeological treasures that survive today are unmissable for sightseers, history buffs and families alike. Make sure you put these historic gems on your Alexandria bucket list:

1. Feed your brain: Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Great Library may be long gone but you’ll discover its brilliance rekindled at the futuristic Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Wander through the city’s new-age library in awe as you take in the massive realms of knowledge - the main building holds millions of books and there are six smaller libraries including a children’s library and one filled with rare books. Families will love interactive exhibitions such as CULTURAMA; a huge 180-degree computer screen that displays historic stories on both ancient and modern Egypt

2. Discover an ancient wonder: Fort Qaitbey

Alexandria-Fort-Qaitbey
Nudging the Mediterranean coast, this 15th century fortress is a must-visit when in Alexandria. It’s home to the exact site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Pharos Lighthouse, which was destroyed by the elements over time. Parts of its remains can be seen inside the finely-restored fort. Fort Qaitbey’s perfect seaside location means you can enjoy the refreshing air as you walk the long stretch of walls.

3. Relive the glory days: Roman Amphitheatre

Head to Kom el Dikka (meaning Mound of Rubble) and you’ll find a fascinating slice of Roman history and one of the most important discoveries in Egypt in the 20th century. The only known Roman amphitheatre in Egypt was found accidentally in 1960 and its remains are impressively well-preserved. 

4. Stroll in royal territory: Montazah Palace Gardens

Alexandria-Montazah-Palace
You’ll find gardens as old as they are beautiful in the Montaza district of Alexandria. The lush grounds are located in the grounds of Montaza Palace, which was built in 1892 by Abbas II, the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. You can take photos of its exterior, which blends Turkish style architecture with Florentine flair (look out for the tower modelled on one at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio). Though the building itself isn’t open to the public, it’s worth a visit simply for a stroll round its enormous gardens.

5. Marvel at huge structures: Pompey’s Pillar

One of Alexandria’s prime historical sites is Pompey’s Pillar – one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected. The 30m ancient pillar was built to honour the Roman emperor Diocletian and serves as a reminder of Egypt’s golden days for both travellers and history lovers flying to Alexandria today.

Ready to explore this fascinating city? Book a flight to Alexandria with flydubai and we’ll take you straight to the heart of ancient Egypt. With top in-flight services and globally-inspired food, your adventure begins the moment you step on board.

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