Alexandria the Great

A view of Alexandria's vibrant seaside.

Though it is no longer the center of world power it was in the years after Alexander founded the city in 331 BC, present-day Alexandria does still lay claim to some greatness. It’s the largest city by population located directly on the Mediterranean, and the fourth-largest city in the Arab world.

Of course such an old city has many historic sites. The most famous one, unfortunately, is long gone. That would be the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa – one of the lesser known seven wonders of the Middle Ages – are definitely worth an hour or two of your time.

Well-preserved reliefs can be found within the catacombs.
A restored mural detail at the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa.

Not far from the catacombs, you can wander around Pompey’s Pillar, which sits atop the city’s ancient acropolis. This Roman ruin is also interesting because it is almost completely surrounded by modern-day residential buildings chock full of people living on just about the same plot of land as their counterparts 2,000 years ago.

One of these is not like the others.
My, what a big pillar you have.

Next on your tour should be the Citadel of Qaitbay, which was built in the 15th century on the same site the ancient lighthouse once occupied. It was a military fort until the French and British, on separate occasions, bombarded it with weaponry the fort was never designed to defend.

No longer protecting anyone, but still nice to look at.
The obligatory view through a ruined window. Why do I like these so much?
I also have this weird fixation with solitary little boats. Are they a metaphor for my life? Hopefully not.

Also worth a visit is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a contemporary nod to the ancient Library of Alexandria, which was one of the ancient world’s largest and most revered.

The architecture of the Bibliotheca is an impressive blend of visual beauty and streamlined functionality.
These students were hard at work until I annoyed them enough to start laughing at me.

Alexandria’s bustling waterfront gave us plenty of opportunities for watching people and sampling local cuisines. At the end of the day, that’s really why we travel – to acquaint ourselves with other societies and cultures and then eat their food!

Yummy shawarma, one of countless Middle Eastern dishes that are popular in Egypt.
Incredibly fresh fish (green mullet) served in local Egyptian style: whole, with seasoned rice. This is before…
…and this is after.
Lots of action (and noise) could be taken in from our hotel balcony.
This is not modern art. Alexandria has a thriving auto parts district. I am not kidding.
Also not modern art.
Do you mind? I’m walking here.
I love Child’s Pose. Great stretch. Just don’t lose your head over it.
I’ve heard it’s a pretty good travel company except that all their connecting flights go through the North Pole.
Circle of life, I suppose.
They have fried chicken AND chocolate??? Why would I want to eat anywhere else?
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  1. Vicki

    Thanks for the tour! Looking forward to your next post. Have fun, stay safe!

  2. Ghitt

    did you say MULLET!!!!

  3. Mike Dieffenbach

    This is your second post from Egypt and yet I see neither photos nor descriptions of you walking like an Egyptian. Disappointed (please see accompanying video –

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      Walking like an Egyptian, at least as depicted in ancient murals and the like, would require anatomic maneuvers I am neither willing nor able to undertake without inflicting considerable pain upon myself. In other words, hell no.

  4. Larry

    You favor the photos through the windows and the solitary boat shots because they provide depth and perspective to your photos. You eye goes to the subject (the boat or window) then wanders to the surroundings.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      That’s entirely too logical and serious a comment for this blog. I will allow it this one time, but don’t let it happen again.


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