Alexandria
alexAlexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as  (Alexandreia).

Geography


Climate
Alexandria has an arid desert climate (Koppen climate classification BWh),[5] but the prevailing north wind, blowing across the Mediterranean, gives the city a different climate from the desert hinterland.[6] The city's climate shows Mediterranean (Csa) characteristics, namely mild, variably rainy winters and hot, dry summers which, at times, can be very humid. January and February are the coolest months with daily maximum temperatures typically ranging from 12°C (53°F) to 18°C (64°F). Alexandria experiences violent storms, rain and sometimes hail during the cooler months. July and August are the hottest and most humid months of the year with an average daily maximum temperature of 30°C (87°F). Autumn and spring are the ideal seasons to visit Alexandria, with temperatures averaging about 22°C (71°F).

Layout of the ancient city

Greek Alexandria was divided into three regions:

Brucheum
the Royal or Greek quarter, forming the most magnificent portion of the city. In Roman times Brucheum was enlarged by the addition of an official quarter, making four regions in all. The city was laid out as a grid of parallel streets, each of which had an attendant subterranean canal;
The Jewish quarter
forming the northeast portion of the city;
Rhakotis
The old city of Rhakotis that had been absorbed into Alexandria. It was occupied chiefly by Egyptians. (from Coptic Rakot? "Alexandria").
Two main streets, lined with colonnades and said to have been each about 60 metres (200 feet) wide, intersected in the center of the city, close to the point where the Sema (or Soma) of Alexander (his Mausoleum) rose. This point is very near the present mosque of Nebi Daniel; and the line of the great East–West "Canopic" street, only slightly diverged from that of the modern Boulevard de Rosette (now Sharia Fouad). Traces of its pavement and canal have been found near the Rosetta Gate, but remnants of streets and canals were exposed in 1899 by German excavators outside the east fortifications, which lie well within the area of the ancient city.

Alexandria consisted originally of little more than the island of Pharos, which was joined to the mainland by a mole nearly a mile long (1260 m) and called the Heptastadion ("seven stadia" — a stadium was a Greek unit of length measuring approximately 180 m). The end of this abutted on the land at the head of the present Grand Square, where the "Moon Gate" rose. All that now lies between that point and the modern "Ras al-Tiin" quarter is built on the silt which gradually widened and obliterated this mole. The "Ras al-Tiin" quarter represents all that is left of the island of Pharos, the site of the actual lighthouse having been weathered away by the sea. On the east of the mole was the Great Harbor, now an open bay; on the west lay the port of Eunostos, with its inner basin Kibotos, now vastly enlarged to form the modern harbor.

In Strabo's time, (latter half of 1st century BC) the principal buildings were as follows, enumerated as they were to be seen from a ship entering the Great Harbor.

1.The Royal Palaces, filling the northeast angle of the town and occupying the promontory of Lochias, which shut in the Great Harbor on the east. Lochias (the modern Pharillon) has almost entirely disappeared into the sea, together with the palaces, the "Private Port," and the island of Antirrhodus. There has been a land subsidence here, as throughout the northeast coast of Africa.
2.The Great Theater, on the modern Hospital Hill near the Ramleh station. This was used by Caesar as a fortress, where he withstood a siege from the city mob after the battle of Pharsalus
3.The Poseidon, or Temple of the Sea God, close to the Theatre
4.The Timonium built by Marc Antony
5.The Emporium (Exchange)
6.The Apostases (Magazines)
7.The Navalia (Docks), lying west of the Timonium, along the seafront as far as the mole
8.Behind the Emporium rose the Great Caesareum, by which stood the two great obelisks, which become known as “Cleopatra's Needles”, and were transported to New York City and London. This temple became, in time, the Patriarchal Church, though some ancient remains of the temple have been discovered. The actual Caesareum, the parts not eroded by the waves, lies under the houses lining the new seawall.
9.The Gymnasium and the Palaestra are both inland, near the Boulevard de Rosette in the eastern half of the town; sites unknown.
10.The Temple of Saturn; site unknown.
11.The Mausolea of Alexander (Soma) and the Ptolemies in one ring-fence, near the point of intersection of the two main streets.
12.The Musaeum with its famous Library and theater in the same region; site unknown.
13.The Serapeum, the most famous of all Alexandrian temples. Strabo tells us that this stood in the west of the city; and recent discoveries go far as to place it near “Pompey's Pillar” which was an independent monument erected to commemorate Diocletian's siege of the city.
The names of a few other public buildings on the mainland are known, but there is little information as to their actual position. None, however, are as famous as the building that stood on the eastern point of Pharos island. There, the The Great Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, reputed to be 138 metres (450 ft) high, was sited. The first Ptolemy began the project, and the second Ptolemy completed it, at a total cost of 800 talents. It took 12 years to complete and served as a prototype for all later lighthouses in the world. The light was produced by a furnace at the top and the tower was built mostly with solid blocks of limestone. The Pharos lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century, making it the second longest surviving ancient wonder next to the Great Pyramid of Giza. A temple of Hephaestus also stood on Pharos at the head of the mole.

In the first century, the population of Alexandria contained over 180,000 adult male citizens (from a papyrus dated 32 CE), in addition to a large number of freedmen, women, children, and slaves. Estimates of the total population range from 500,000 to over 1,000,000, making it one of the largest cities ever built before the Industrial Revolution and the largest pre-industrial city that was not an imperial capital.

Antiquities

Persistent efforts have been made to explore the antiquities of Alexandria. Encouragement and help have been given by the local Archaeological Society, and by many individuals, notably Greeks proud of a city which is one of the glories of their national history.

The past and present directors of the museum have been enabled from time to time to carry out systematic excavations whenever opportunity is offered; D. G. Hogarth made tentative researches on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1895; and a German expedition worked for two years (1898–1899). But two difficulties face the would-be excavator in Alexandria: lack of space for excavation and the underwater location of some areas of interest.

Since the great and growing modern city stands immediately over the ancient one, it is almost impossible to find any considerable space in which to dig, except at enormous cost. Also, the general subsidence of the coast has submerged the lower-lying parts of the ancient town under water. This underwater section, containing many of the most interesting sections of the Hellenistic city, including the palace quarter, is still being extensively investigated by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team.[12] It raised a noted head of Caesarion. These are being opened up to tourists, to some controversy.[13] The spaces that are most open are the low grounds to northeast and southwest, where it is practically impossible to get below the Roman strata.

The most important results were those achieved by Dr. G. Botti, late director of the museum, in the neighborhood of “Pompey's Pillar”, where there is a good deal of open ground. Here substructures of a large building or group of buildings have been exposed, which are perhaps part of the Serapeum. Nearby, immense catacombs and columbaria have been opened which may have been appendages of the temple. These contain one very remarkable vault with curious painted reliefs, now artificially lit and open to visitors.

The objects found in these researches are in the museum, the most notable being a great basalt bull, probably once an object of cult in the Serapeum. Other catacombs and tombs have been opened in Kom al-Shoqqafa (Roman) and Ras al-Tiin (painted).

The German excavation team found remains of a Ptolemaic colonnade and streets in the north-east of the city, but little else. Hogarth explored part of an immense brick structure under the mound of Kom al-Dikka, which may have been part of the Paneum, the Mausolea, or a Roman fortress.

The making of the new foreshore led to the dredging up of remains of the Patriarchal Church; and the foundations of modern buildings are seldom laid without some objects of antiquity being discovered. The wealth underground is doubtlessly immense; but despite all efforts, there is not much for antiquarians to see in Alexandria outside the museum and the neighborhood of “Pompey's Pillar”. The native tomb-robbers, well-sinkers, dredgers, and the like, however, come upon valuable objects from time to time, most of which find their way into private collections.

Modern city
Districts


Modern Alexandria is divided into six districts:

al-Montaza District: population 1,190,287
Sharak (Eastern Alexandria District: population 985,786
Wassat (Middle Alexandria) District: population 520,450
al-Amriya District: population 845,845
Agamy (Western Alexandria) District: population 386,374
al-Gomrok District: population 145,558
There are also two cities under the jurisdiction of the Alexandria governorate forming metropolitan Alexandria:

Borg Al-Arab city: population 186,900
New Borg Al-Arab city: population 7,600
[edit] Neighbourhoods
Agami, Amreya, Anfoushi, Assafra, Attarine, Azarita (aka Mazarita; originally Lazarette), Bab Sidra, Bahari, Bacchus, Bolkly (Bokla), Burg el-Arab, Camp Shezar, Cleopatra, Dekheila, Downtown, Eastern Harbour, Fleming, Gabbari (aka: Qabbari, Qubbary, Kabbary), Gianaclis, Glym (short for Glymenopoulos), Gumrok (aka al-Gomrok), Hadara, Ibrahimeya, King Mariout, Kafr Abdu, Karmous, also known as Karmouz, Kom el-Dik (aka Kom el-Dekka), Labban, Laurent, Louran, Maamoura Beach, Maamoura, Mafrouza, Mandara, Manshiyya, Mex, Miami, Montaza, Muharram Bey, Mustafa Kamel, Ramleh (aka el-Raml), Ras el-Tin, Rushdy, Saba Pasha , San Stefano, Shatby, Schutz, Sidi Bishr, Sidi Gaber, Smouha, Sporting, Stanley, Syouf, Tharwat, Victoria, Wardeyan, Western Harbour and Zizinia.

Squares
(Ahmed) Orabi Square(Mansheya Square), in Downtown
Saad Zaghlul Square, in Downtown
Tahrir Square (formerly Mohammed Ali Square, originally Place des Consuls), in Downtown
Ahmed Zewail Square, near Wabour El Mayah
[edit] Palaces
Montaza Palace, in Montaza
Ras el-Tin Palace, in Ras el-Tin
Presidential Palace, in Maamoura
Recreational
Montaza Royal Gardens
Antoniades Park
Shallalat Gardens
Alexandria Zoo
Green Plaza
Fantazy Land
Maamoura Beach, Alexandria
Marina Village

Religion

Christianity
After Rome, Alexandria was considered the major seat of Christianity in the world. The Pope of Alexandria was the second among equals, second only to the bishop of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire until 430. The Church of Alexandria had jurisdiction over the entire continent of Africa. After the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., the Church of Alexandria was split between the Miaphysites and the Melkites. The Miaphysites went on to constitute what is known today as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Melkites went on the constitute what is known today as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. In the 19th century, Catholic and Protestant missionaries converted some of the adherents of the Orthodox churches to their respective faiths.

Today, the patriarchal seat of the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church is Saint Mark Cathedral in Ramleh. The most important Coptic Orthodox churches in Alexandria include Pope Cyril I Church in Cleopatra, Saint Georges Church in Sporting, Saint Mark & Pope Peter I Church in Sidi Bishr, Saint Mary Church in Assafra, Saint Mary Church in Gianaclis, Saint Mina Church in Fleming, Saint Mina Church in Mandara, and Saint Tekle Haymanot Church in Ibrahimeya.

The most important Greek Orthodox churches in Alexandria are Saint Anargyri Church, Church of the Annunciation, Saint Anthony Church, Archangels Gabriel & Michael Church, Saint Catherine Church, Cathedral of the Dormition in Mansheya, Church of the Dormition, Prophet Elijah Church, Saint Georges Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ibrahemeya, Saint Joseph Church in Fleming, Saint Joseph of Arimathea Church, Saint Mark & Saint Nectarios Chapel in Ramleh, Saint Nicholas Church, Saint Paraskevi Church, Saint Sava Cathedral in Ramleh, and Saint Theodore Chapel. In communion with the Greek Orthodox Church is the Russian Orthodox church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Alexandria, which serves the Russian speaking community in the city.

Churches that follow the Latin Catholic rite include Saint Catherine Church in Mansheya and Church of the Jesuits in Cleopatra.

The Saint Mark Church in Shatby, found as part of Collège Saint Marc is multi-denominational and hold liturgies according to Latin Catholic, Coptic Catholic and Coptic Orthodox rites.

Transport

Airports
Alexandria is served by the nearby Alexandria International Airport, located 7 km to the southeast. Another airport serves Alexandria named Borg al Arab Airport located about 25 km away from city center. This airport has been in use since about 2003. It was a military airport before that, and until now there is a military section there.[14]

Highways
The International coastal road. (Alexandria - Port Said)
The Desert road. (Alexandria - Cairo /220 km 6-8 lanes, mostly lit)
The Agricultural road. (Alexandria - Cairo)
The Circular road. the turnpike
Ta'ameer Road "Mehwar El-Ta'ameer" - (Alexandria - North Coast)
[edit] Train
Extends from "Misr Station"; the main railway station in Alexandria, to Abu Qir.

Railway stations include:

Misr Station (the main station)
Sidi Gaber Station
 Tram
Main article: Alexandria Tram
An extensive tramway network was built in 1860 and is the oldest in Africa.

Culture

Libraries
The Royal Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the largest library in the world. It is generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. It was likely created after his father had built what would become the first part of the Library complex, the temple of the Muses — the Museion,  (from which the modern English word museum is derived).

It has been reasonably established that the Library, or parts of the collection, were destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (library fires were common and replacement of handwritten manuscripts was very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming). To this day the details of the destruction (or destructions) remain a lively source of controversy. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old Library

Museums
Alexandria Aquarium
 
The Alexandria National MuseumThe Graeco-Roman Museum
The Royal Jewelry Museum
The Museum of Fine Arts
The Cavafy museum
The Alexandria National Museum was inaugurated the 31st of December, 2003 by Hosni Mubarak and it's located in a restored Italian style palace in Tariq Al-Horreya Street (former Rue Fouad), near the center of the city.. It contains about 1.800 artifacts that narrate the story of Alexandria and Egypt. Most of these pieces came from another Egyptian museums.
The museum is housed in the old Al-Saad Bassili Pasha Palace, who was one of the wealthiest wood merchants in Alexandria. Construction on the site was first undertaken in 1926.

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