It’s quite hard to believe that this wonderful city started out as a small fishing village. It was founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great and became the capital of the Greco-Roman Egypt. From the late 19th century it became one of the major international shipping ports and trading centers of the world because of its easy access by land between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and of course the very lucrative business of Egyptian cotton.
Alexandria today is Egypt’s largest sea port and popular tourist destination. The atmosphere is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern and offers the visitor a cultural rich past as well as a modern vibe. Its beauty and culture has attracted many great writers and has also been the feature of many television travel programs. It is a vibrant city with a variety of hotels, international restaurants as well as local cafes, and the night life is varied from clubs to live music.
If you want to just relax and soak up the sun there are plenty of options. Maamoura beach is the most popular place to sunbathe, swim in the warm water of the Mediterranean or have a go at the water sports on offer.
The famous Montaza Complex is located at the Eastern edge of the city of Alexandria. The complex, which covers around 360 acre, looks over a gulf that used to be called Al Montaza Gulf.
The complex contains five beaches aptly named Cleopatra, Vanessa, Semiramis, Aida and the private beach of Helnan Palestine Hotel.
All sorts of sea activity can be done in Montaza. One can ride a sea boat and take a ride around the complex or you can go water skiing as well, diving, snorkeling, or even just chill out in front of the sea.
Also in the complex is the Montaza Palace buildings that were built by Abbas 11 of Egypt in 1892. One of the palace buildings called the Haramlek now houses a museum and a casino on the lower level, and the Salamlek is now a luxury hotel that also has a top class restaurant. The buildings themselves are unique pieces of architecture containing elements of both Islam and Europe.
Just wandering around Alexandria is a delight and if it’s more culture you want to see and historic sites then there are plenty.
The Attarine souk is a charming maze of small streets with hundreds of boutiques and antique shops with a buzzing ambiance, but if you prefer modern fashion as the local youngsters do then there are plenty of shopping malls to explore. Close to the souk you will also find the Attarine mosque.
The Corniche is a glorious 15km boardwalk along the harbour with an abundance of restaurants, market stalls and historic sights.
Alexandria is proud of its huge international library project costing millions of Dollars that will house over 8 million books in hard and electronic copies.
The famous Pharo’s Light House was built between 280 and 247 BC on island of Pharos. Its job was to guide the sailors through the harbour safely. It’s one of the highest structures in the world and is also one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the world.
If you love mixing culture, with rich heritage and some relaxation then Alexandria has so much to offer and more.
It is the perfect place to practice your Arabic language skills, and soak up the Arab culture while learning about her steep history.