, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Ancient Alexandria and Egyptian Pharos ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

March 24, 2012

Ancient Alexandria and Egyptian Pharos

The climate of Alexandria is milder than that of Cairo. Facing the Mediterranean there is more rain, and in September, especially, the humidity is high. The fact that it is known as the city both of Alexander and of Cleopatra makes it a great attraction for tourists. Besides being intrigued by its history, tourists are lured there in summer by a number of fine beaches.

Ancient Alexandria
Historically, Alexandria’s port has been even more important than Beirut, the main port of the Middle and Near East. Tense relations with Israel have driven consideration for everything else into the background so that Alexandria has been reduced to a less-than-lovely town. However, if peace returns and the city is cleaned up, Alexandria should turn into a better port and a charming city.

Alexandria was built on the site of the ancient village of Rhakotis. The actual spot lies a little south of the Central Station and is marked by Pompey’s Column. Further south of Pompey’s Column lies the monument known as Kom-el-ShogabaThe Hill of Shards” with its marvelous catacombs. These were built in three stories, the lowest of which now lies far below sea level. Nothing is known about the numerous burial chambers and tombs contained in the catacombs, not even if they are the graves of ordinary people or of nobility. The air of the burial chambers is always cool, even in the height of summer. Standing there in the subdued light, I could not help but contemplate the history of the country and the many unsolved mysteries that exist in Egypt.

The bulk of the construction of Alexandria was carried out by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, in the first half of the third century B.C. Ptolemy II was an extremely erudite monarch who undertook the building of both the great library of Alexandria and the lighthouse of Pharos. He made Alexandria a center of learning, inviting scholars from throughout the ancient world to help compile a history of Egypt. So much of Hellenic culture was infused into this part of the Mediterranean it was said that the only thing Alexandria lacked was the snow of the Greek mountains. All the great men of ancient times the geometricans Euclid and Archimedes; Timochares, the astronomer; and the poets Callimachus and Appollonius have strolled along the shores of the Mediterranean at Alexandria, enjoying the sea breezes that still cool the land.

Here in Alexandria in 30 B.C., Cleopatra placed the asp on her breast. Her suicide brought about the beginning of the decline of the great empire created by Alexander. Yet the traces of splendor that characterized Alexandria lingered on for centuries. When General Amr arrived in Alexandria at the head of the invading Islamic armies some six hundred years later, he sent an amazing description to Omar, caliph of Baghdad: “This is a truly breathtaking city. There are over 4,000 palaces, 4,000 public baths, 400 theaters and 1,200 parks.” Little, however, is left in Alexandria to recall its days of greatness, although modem roads still follow the original pattern, running from the center in a north-south or east-west direction. This design was adopted in the original city to allow the northern breezes to blow through the town. Even today, the main trunk road of El Hurreya, follows the same route it did two thousand years ago when Cleopatra passed along it.

Pharos, the island which prompted Alexandria to establish his great city here and the landmark of this fine harbor, no longer exists. The only trace of it is in Ras-el-Tin “The Headland of Figs” which used to be joined to the northwest comer of the island, and which juts out between the western and eastern harbors. The western harbor was the main one and has a great breakwater running along it, but Pharos was located in the eastern harbor close to what is now Qaitbei Fort. The lighthouse on the Island of Pharos was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Some 400 to 600 feet high, the Pharos lighthouse is said to have been constructed completely of white marble in steps comprising a set of four to eight flights of stairs in all.

The lower staircases wound around a rectangular shaft and the upper ones around a circular one; all were enclosed by balustrades. An enormous bonfire was kept blazing at the very top of the tower day and night so that it looked like a “pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day.” The lighthouse had over three hundred rooms with hundreds of windows facing every direction and was manned constantly by soldiers, so it was also extremely useful as a lookout point. An enormous mirror of translucent stone amplified the light of the bonfire on the top of the tower. The rays emitted from the lighthouse could be seen from three hundred miles at sea.

Related Web Search:
  • Alexandria
  • Alexandria Egypt
  • Weather in Alexandria Egypt
  • Hotels in Alexandria Egypt
  • Alexandria Egypt History
  • Egypt Tourism 
  • Egyptian Pharos


Post a Comment

Hi, If you found any copyright content in Ancient Egypt blog please don't hesitant to send an email : and will delete within 24 Hours


Follow us

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...