My reason to visit Alexandria was to see one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. However, there are many more Alexandria attractions to enjoy. Here are a few things to do in Alexandria Egypt
- Lighthouse of Alexandria – Ancient Wonder of the World
- Citadel of Qaitbay
- Alexandria Library
- Montaza Palace
- Pompey’s Pillar
- Alexandria Port and Corniche
- Mosques of Alexandria
- Stanley Bridge
- Museums of Alexandria
- Roman Amphitheater
- Borg El Arab Stadium
Hotels in Alexandria are incredibly good value. However, be aware that some charge foreigners more than Egyptians. Book an Alexandria archaeological tour online.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Firstly, my reason to visit Alexandria is because it was home to one of the ancient wonders of the world, Alexandria Lighthouse. It was a huge lighthouse which led traders to the busy port. This huge lighthouse was built in the 3rd century BC during the Ptolemaic Kingdom. At 100 meters tall it was an incredible piece of work for this period. As a matter of fact it was the tallest building in the world for several centuries. However, due to earthquake damage between the 10th to 14th centuries it became a ruin. An interesting fact is that stones from the ruin was used to create the Citadel of Qaitbay. Lastly, the underwater ruins which still remain may became an underwater museum one day.
Citadel of Qaitbay
When you visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, this is the exact site of the former Lighthouse of Alexandria. It was built in the 15th century using the remains of the ancient wonder of the world. Its purpose was to defend Alexandria from the threat of the Turks. Throughout the years, the citadel became abandoned and the one you see to day is heavily restored. As a matter of fact, it appears to be brand new and it’s sole purpose is a tourist attraction! Adjacent to the Citadel is Alexandria Aquarium. Moreover, the beautiful Ras el-Tin Palace as well as the Necropolis of Anfushi are a short walk away.
Citadel of Qaitbay – Interior
The Citadel of Qaitbay has been heavily restored. Additionally, it looks much better from the outside, so why would you go inside? One reason is to view the beautiful surroundings from the inside. Another reason to visit inside is to see the patterned floors.
Alexandria is famous for the library which burned down in 48BC. This was in fact the largest library in the world at the time. The library featured an enormous collection of ancient literature from famous writers such as Socrates and Plato. Sadly, there was no cloud to backup the works 2000 years ago! As a matter of fact, Julius Caesar is blamed for the burning of the library. Today, you may visit the well designed new Alexandria Library on the Corniche.
The Montaza Palace grounds feature the former home of overthrown leader, Hosni Mubarak. Those who want a glimpse into his lifestyle will enjoy seeing his former residence. Today, the grounds are public and one of the buildings also features the Muhammad Ali Dynasty family museum. A walk through the public grounds will reward you with not only beautiful gardens but also views of majestic royal palaces.
Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
Firstly, the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are one of the seven wonders of the middle ages. Secondly, they receive very few tourists therefore you may be alone in the catacombs! Something unique about these catacombs is they feature influence of not only Egyptian but also Greek and Roman. An interesting fact about the catacombs is they were not found until the 20th century when a donkey fell down the shaft. For this reason, maybe there is a tomb of a donkey down here too?
Tombs in Kom El Shoqafa
You may experience an eerie feeling if you’re alone as you explore the tombs.
A short walk from the Catacombs is Pompey’s Pillar which is the largest of its kind outside Rome and Istanbul. Originally, it was part of the Serapeum of Alexandria, a Greek temple which is now ruins. Beneath the Serpeum are the Serapeum Catacombs.
Alexandria Port and Corniche
I’m not sure how I’d describe Alexandria Port and the Corniche which runs alongside the coast. The traffic is terrible, it’s hot and the buildings have seen better days. Nonetheless, if you visit Alexandria Egypt, it’s essential you use this route as you visit the cities attractions.
Mosques of Alexandria Egypt
Have you seen an Egyptian Mosque before? The famous Egyptian style mosque in Alexandria is the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque. Visitors are welcome outside of praying times and of course, must respect the dress code. Another beautiful mosque is the Al Qaaed Ibrahim Basha Mosque which is a famous landmark on the Corniche (above). Lastly, if you wish to see more mosques in Alexandria then visit the Attarine Mosque as well as the El Nabi Daniel Mosque.
Stanley Bridge – Alexandria Egypt
Stanley Bridge makes up the Corniche. As a matter of fact, it’s an extension of the Corniche. It’s a 400 meter long bridge which features 4 identifiable towers.
Museums of Alexandria
Due to its rich history, Alexandria is home to several interesting museums. You may consider visiting the Royal Jewelry Museum, National Museum, Museum of Fine Arts and the Mahmoud Said Museum.
An interesting fact about the Alexandria Roman Amphitheater is that it was rediscovered in the 1960’s. The Government were clearing the land to build here. However, this never happened when they discovered the 4th century structure hidden beneath the sand. It was used throughout both the Roman and Byzantine periods before being neglected during the Islamic era. It’s a small amphitheater which had a capacity of around 600 spectators. As a result, it likely that it only hosted music or other artistic events. Read about another Roman Amphitheater in Albania which was also accidentally discovered in the 1960’s.
Alexandria Fire Station
Many buildings will grab your attention as you explore Alexandria. One building in particular is the colorful fire station which is adjacent to the Roman Amphitheater. The fire station increases in importance when you consider Julius Caesar was blamed for the burning of Alexandria Library.
Borg El Arab Stadium
Did you know Alexandria is home to the largest stadium in Egypt? Furthermore, it’s the second largest stadium in the whole of Africa. It’s capacity is 86,000 which makes it larger than many famous European stadiums including Old Trafford and Stade Velodrome. Unfortunately, the only way to enter is when a football match is on. The stadium area is controlled by the army therefore they will not let you get close if there’s no match on.
How to Get Around Alexandria
Alexandria attractions and landmarks are spread out throughout the city. In addition, it can get very hot. For this reason, you should consider hiring a taxi for the day to take you exactly where you want and to wait for you. Of course, you could take a new taxi each time but it could be stressful negotiating with several different taxi drivers. Bargain with them and pay a fair price. Alternatively, book an Alexandria archaeological tour online in advance.
Enjoy your Visit to Alexandria Egypt
What can I say? If you’re a true traveler and want to see the real Egypt – visit Alexandria. Furthermore, you’ll also see what remains of an ancient wonder of the world as well as a wonder of the middle ages. In addition to this, you’ll also see Egyptians going about their daily business.
Visit other ancient wonders of the world in Giza, Ephesus and Bodrum.