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Alexandria: Pearl of the Mediterranean.

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC and went on to become one of the greatest centres of learning in ancient Greece, being home to one of the greatest libraries of the ancient world.

The Egyptian seaside city was also considered a beacon of culture, symbolised by the legendary lighthouse Pharos, which is counted among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. As one of the longest-lasting wonders, the lighthouse survived until the 12th century. In the 15th century, a fort was built out of its ruins and it still stands for enthusiastic sightseers.

As immigrants flocked in from the Eastern Mediterranean, Alexandria changed into the cosmopolitan city it is today. Alexandria's coastline, scattered with bays and harbours has played a significant role in Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. The unique blend of ancient Mediterranean and modernity has granted the city of Alexandria its famous nickname: the Pearl of the Mediterranean.

BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA

One of the most famous touristic sites in Egypt and a must-see for all visitors, Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a redesigned library and cultural centre that was inspired by the legendary Library of Alexandria.

A cluster of museums await exploration here -- The Manuscript Museum, where you'll find a wide collection ancient scrolls and texts; The Antiquities Museum, full of ancient antiquities that were discovered underwater; a rotating Egyptian folk art collection; and a Science Museum and Planetarium, offering children's activities.

MONTAZAH PALACE GARDENS

The Montazah complex was originally a summer home for Khedive Abbas Hilmi, the last Ottoman viceroy of Egypt and Sudan, to escape the desert heat. The palace is a mix of pseudo-Moorish and Florentine design and used to be the summer house of the Egyptian royal family. The Montazah Palace Gardens, home to a range diverse plants and rare flowers, are the highlight of this visit. The gardens cover an expansive 3,000 metres of the palace's backyard with distinct palm trees and rare plants.

CORNICHE ALEXANDRIA

Alexandria's Corniche is a walk down history lane. On this waterfront promenade, one can witness spectacular architecture from the 19th and 20th century, when Alexandria transitioned into a cosmopolitan city. The view of the beautiful Mediterranean sea, with pristine beaches extending along the coast, are a constant reminder of the city's balmy seaside location.

QAITBEY FORT

The Qaitbey Fort stands where one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the great Pharos lighthouse, once stood. The fort can be found on the west end of the corniche, where it was built in the 15th century. Visitors to the fort can climb up to the rooftop and enjoy the spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea.

THE GRAECO-ROMAN MUSEUM

The Graeco-Roman Museum, also known as the MOYXEION narrates over 2,000 years of Graeco Roman history in Egypt. The museum showcases an ensemble of historical artefacts and works of art that date back to ancient Alexandria. Divided into 27 exhibits, the museum has something to pique the interest of people from different age groups and backgrounds.

ANFUSHI

Anfushi Fish Market is always bustling with fishermen gripping their fishing lines and locals bargaining for their fresh fish. Early mornings it is quite a sight for spectators and photographers. For a truly 'Alexandrian experience', the district of Anfushi has some of the best seafood restaurants the city has to offer. Around sunset, locals and tourists flood the district for a taste of fresh grilled fish, a traditional shisha (water-pipes) cafe experience or even a cup of coffee at one of the many local cafes.

ABU AL ABBAS AL MURSI MOSQUE

Apart from different historical legacies of Greek, Pharaonic and Ottoman, Alexandria also hosts a tribute to Andalusia in Spain. Alexandrian culture largely celebrates the Andalusian Sufi Sheikh, Abu Al Abbas Al Mursi, who moved to Alexandria and lived there for 43 years. His tomb in Anfushi has become the site of Alexandria's largest mosque. Built in 1775, it boasts a cream-coloured facade, four great domes, arabesque designs and a high minaret, the mosque is a beautiful sight. Today, it is one of the most visited mosques on the coast.

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Where to stay

Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria: The Four Seasons is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious and glamorous hotels in Alexandria, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and located in Stan Stefano's Grand Plaza. Alexandria's San Stefano is renowned for its shopping experience, with around 180 different shops and a movie theatre. Staying at the Four Seasons keeps you close to one of Alexandria's famous touristic attractions, Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The hotel offers open-air restaurants, an outstanding spa and a private beach.

Helnan Palestine Hotel, Montazah Palace: Apart from its unique location facing the Montazah Palace, the five-star Helnan Palestine Hotel has around 350 acres of gardens of its own and its own outdoor pool, private seafront sun terrace right by the Mediterranean Sea.

Sheraton Montazah Hotel: Sheraton Montazah is surrounded by breath-taking beaches and touristic attractions, offering spectacular views from private balconies, and exceptional service. The location is perfect for restaurants, cafes and touristic attractions such as Montazah Palace and Gardens and the Royal Jewelry Museum.

Steinberger Cecil Hotel: The Cecil Hotel has made its name for being a luxurious hotel designed in an ancient setting. The hotel offers a charming and comfortable stay right in the centre of the city, overlooking the Eastern Harbour with amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea. In the past, the Cecil has hosted prominent public figures such as Winston Churchill and Somerset Maugham.

Hilton Alexandria Corniche Hotel: Located in the heart of Alexandria, the Hilton Alexandria Corniche is a luxurious stay with a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, a panoramic pool with a terrace and a private beach. The Alexandria National Museum, Attarine Souk and the famous corniche are easily accessible. Tourists are only a stroll away from restaurants, casinos and historical sites.

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Publication:Travel & Tourism News
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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