T he secret to Alexandria, if classical historians are to be believed, lies in a golden casket. The man who defeated Darius, Alexander the Great, locked his most treasured possession — the works of Homer — inside it. Soon after conquering Egypt , Alexander had a dream in which Homer visited him and spoke lines from The Odyssey. Among them was a reference to the Egyptian island of Pharos in the Mediterranean, and so the next morning Alexander travelled to Pharos and stood upon its rocks, clutching the golden casket and staring out at a scrappy, forgotten stretch of coastline. After a long silence, he nodded. From these shores, the most remarkable city the ancient world had ever seen was about to rise. Today, the original Alexandria lies buried beneath two millennia of urban evolution; the building blocks of its oldest temples and monuments have been carried as far afield as Cairo, London and New York, or else shattered by earthquakes and military invasions, or submerged under the sea. To understand the ancient city, archaeologists have had to peel back the modern one — along with deep and often contradictory layers of myth and folklore. But as quick as his surveyors could calculate the relevant angles and his labourers could scatter the requisite lines of grain, flocks of sea birds swooped down and snaffled this life-size blueprint for themselves. And so work continued, and before long those sea birds were gazing down at a frenzy of construction.
Learn how and when to get vaccinated. Safe and effective COVID vaccines can protect your loved ones, support our economy, and help us all return to normal. Learn More. Learn about testing, how to stay safe and what to expect when you receive a call from a health official. The City will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As part of efforts to expand access to COVID testing options, the City and the Alexandria Health Department are launching free kiosk-based testing sites on January 7, in partnership with the private testing company Curative. The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership seeks adult mentors for children in need.
Underwater Cultural Heritage
With a population of 5,,, Alexandria is the largest city on the Mediterranean - also called the Bride of the Mediterranean by locals - the sixth-largest city in the Arab world and the ninth-largest in Africa. Alexandria is a popular tourist destination, and also an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria was founded in c. An Egyptian village named Rhacotis existed at the location and grew into the Egyptian quarter of Alexandria. Alexandria was the intellectual and cultural centre of the ancient Mediterranean world for much of the Hellenistic age and late antiquity. The city was a major centre of early Christianity and was the centre of the Patriarchate of Alexandria , which was one of the major centres of Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. By the time of the Arab conquest of Egypt in AD, the city had already been largely plundered and lost its significance before re-emerging in the modern era. Recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show human activity at the location during the period of the Old Kingdom 27th—21st centuries BC and again in the period — BC, followed by the absence of activity thereafter. As early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was recently rediscovered under water.
The city lies on the Mediterranean Sea at the western edge of the Nile River delta, about miles km northwest of Cairo in Lower Egypt. Area city, square miles square km. Alexandria has long occupied a special place in the popular imagination by virtue of its association with Alexander and Cleopatra. Alexandria played an important role in preserving and transmitting Hellenic culture to the wider Mediterranean world and was a crucible of scholarship, piety, and ecclesiastical politics in early Christian history. Although it has been asserted that Alexandria declined as a result of its conquest by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century ce , such a statement is misleading.