The famous city founded by Alexander the Great to whom the city owes its name, is the second largest city of Egypt after Cairo and has a population of 4.1 million people. It is also the most important port of the country and the continent. Alexandria is also known as “The Pearl of the Mediterranean” because of its Mediterranean atmosphere.
The city was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC and it became the capital of the capital of the Greco- Roman Egypt. The city was designed by the Greek architect Dinocrates and in few years it reached an important development as a cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis that was an abstract of the Hellenic World.
After Alexander’s death his general Ptolemy took the power of Egypt and he started the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. During this time Alexandria was the commercial centre amongst Europe and the Arabian and Indian nations. By the II century BC Alexandria was the greatest city in the world and during the Roman time, it was the second city of the world after Rome.
During long time Alexandria was the main cultural centre of the world. The first Greek Translation of the Hebrew Bible was made in the city because Alexandria hosted the greatest Jewish community of the World. In this time were constructed also the two most representative buildings of the city the “Lighthouse of Alexandria” one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the “Library of Alexandria” the greatest and most complete Library of its time.
The city became part of the Roman Empire in 90 BC and it was still an important city within the Empire, during the early years of the Roman government was constructed the famous Roman Cemetery of Kom el-Shouqafa, which was used until IV century and whose catacombs have a unique decoration that represents the fusion of the Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures.
The city was destroyed several times. The first time was because of the Jewish-Greek war in 115 AD, but Alexandria was rapidly reconstructed by Hadrian and the architect Decriannus. The second time was in 215 when the emperor Carcalla ordered his troops to destroy the city because of insults that he was received from the Alexandria’s citizens. The third time that the city was destroyed was in 365 when a great tsunami generated by a earthquake in Crete devastated completely the city.
In the VII century, Alexandria was conquered by Muslim Arabs during the conquest of Egypt and in 968 the city lost its position, as cultural and political centre of Egypt, when Cairo became capital of the country. In 1798 Napoleon arrived with his troops to Egypt and he elected Alexandria as one of the operation centres. But in 1801 the British troops defeated French troops in the Alexandria Battle.
The city has played always an important role in the commercial life of the country and in history of Egypt, like in 1882 when was attacked by the British Naval Force that occupied Egypt or in 1954 when the city was scenery of the assassination attempt against Gamal Nasser (an important Egyptian leader).
Today Alexandria is the most important economic and commercial centre of Egypt; almost 80 % of imports and exports of the country go through the Alexandria’s port. The city is also a tourist hotspot, being the preferred location of the middle class of Cairo to enjoy the summer.
Besides, the city has many tourist attractions such as the Mutanza Gardens, the Mahmudiya Canal, the Alexandria aquarium, the Royal Jewelry Museum or the Greek Quarter. It is a beautiful city that worth visiting, but the Egyptian government decided to close it, to protect the archaeological monuments.