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May 2, 2012

Alexandria Egypt

Alexandria Egypt , c. 960
Ebn HaukalEskanderia, Alexandria Egypt , is a considerable town, built on the sea-side: the houses, the other edifices, are of marble. And out in the sea there is a minareh [lighthouse], or watch-tower, of hard stone, and very lofty. It contains about three hundred houses. No one without a guide can arrive there.

Alexandria Egypt

The Day of Our Landing, 1183
Ibn Jubayr

The first day of the month was a Sunday and the day after our arrival in Alexandria. The day of our landing, one of the first things we saw was the coming on board of the agents of the Sultan to record all that had been brought in the ship. All the Muslims in it were brought forward one by one, and their names and descriptions, together with the names of their countries, recorded. Each was questioned as to what merchandise and money he had, that he might pay zakat, without any enquiry as to what portion of it had been in their possession for a complete year and what had not. Most of them were on their way to discharge a religious duty and had nothing but the bare provisions for the journey. But they were compelled to pay the zakat without being questioned as to what had been possessed by them for the complete year and what had not . . .

Before the building of the Suez Canal, Europeans bound for India either sailed round the tip of southern Africa or took the overland route through Egypt, as the Pratt family did in 1843. Fanny Pratt wrote to her three sons left in England of her experiences in Egypt.
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