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Alexandria
إسكندرية Eskendereyya
Ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ Rakote
Nickname(s): Pearl of the Mediterranean
Alexandria is located in Egypt
Alexandria
Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 31°12′N 29°55′E / 31.2°N 29.917°E / 31.2; 29.917
Country  Egypt
Governates Alexandria Governorate
Founded 332 BC
Government
 - Governor Adel Labib
Area
 - Total 1,034.4 sq mi (2,679 km2)
Population (2006)
 - Total 4,110,015
  CAPMS 2006 Census
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)
Area code(s) ++3
Website Official website
Alexandria at sunset.
Alexandria streets.

Alexandria (Arabic: الإسكندرية al-Iskandariyya; Coptic: Ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ Rakotə; Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια; Egyptian Arabic: اسكندريه Iskandariyya), with a population of 4.1 million, is the second-largest city in Egypt, and is the country's largest seaport, serving about 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort. Alexandria extends about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in north-central Egypt. It is home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the new Library), It is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez, another city in Egypt.

In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the most famous cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641 when a new capital was founded at Fustat (Fustat was later absorbed into Cairo). Alexandria was known because of its lighthouse (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its library (the largest library in the ancient world); and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

From the late 19th century, it became a major centre of the international shipping industry and one the most important trading centres in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.

Raqd.t (Alexandria)
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Alexandria, sphinx made of pink granite, Ptolemaic.
An ancient Roman amphitheatre in Alexandria

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια (Alexándreia). Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic centre in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile Valley. An Egyptian city, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore, and later gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language (Egypt. Ra'qedyet). It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt for the East and never returned to his city. After Alexander departed, his viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the expansion. Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria.[citation needed]

Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of seeing to Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been primarily Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the centre of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became the main Greek city of Egypt, with an extraordinary mix of Greeks from many cities and backgrounds.[1]

Alexandria was not only a centre of Hellenism but was also home to the largest Jewish community in the world. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic centre of learning (Library of Alexandria) but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian.[2] From this division arose much of the later turbulence, which began to manifest itself under Ptolemy Philopater who reigned from 221–204 BC. The reign of Ptolemy VIII Physcon from 144–116 BC was marked by purges and civil warfare.[citation needed]

The city passed formally under Roman jurisdiction in 80 BC, according to the will of Ptolemy Alexander but only after it had been under Roman influence for more than a hundred years. It was captured by Julius Caesar in 47 BC during a Roman intervention in the domestic civil war between king Ptolemy XIII and his advisors, and usurper queen Cleopatra VII. It was finally captured by Octavian, future emperor Augustus on 1 August 30 BC, with the name of the month later being changed to august to commemorate his victory.[citation needed]

In AD 115, vast parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Greek-Jewish civil wars, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215 the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami (365 Crete earthquake),[3] an event two hundred years later still annually commemorated as "day of horror".[4] In the late 4th century, persecution of pagans by newly Christian Romans had reached new levels of intensity. In 391, the Patriarch Theophilus destroyed all pagan temples in Alexandria under orders from Emperor Theodosius I. The Brucheum and Jewish quarters were desolate in the 5th century. On the mainland, life seemed to have centered in the vicinity of the Serapeum and Caesareum, both which became Christian churches. The Pharos and Heptastadium quarters, however, remained populous and were left intact.[citation needed]

Alexandria: bombardment from British naval forces.

In 619, Alexandria fell to the Sassanid Persians. Although the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered it in 629, in 641 the Arabs under the general Amr ibn al-As captured it after a siege that lasted fourteen months.

Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798. French troops stormed the city on 2 July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of a British expedition in 1801. The British won a considerable victory over the French at the Battle of Alexandria on 21 March 1801, following which they besieged the city, which fell to them on 2 September 1801. Mohammed Ali, the Ottoman Governor of Egypt, began rebuilding the city around 1810, and by 1850, Alexandria had returned to something akin to its former glory. In July 1882, the city came under bombardment from British naval forces and was occupied. In July 1954, the city was a target of an Israeli bombing campaign that later became known as the Lavon Affair. Only a few months later, Alexandria's Mansheyya Square was the site of a failed assassination attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser.[citation needed]

The most important battles and sieges of Alexandria include:[citation needed]

Geography

Climate

Alexandria has an arid climate (Köppen climate classification BWh),[5] but the prevailing north wind, blowing across the Mediterranean, gives the city a different climate from the desert hinterland.[6] The city's climate shows Mediterranean (Csa) characteristics, namely mild, variably rainy winters and hot, dry summers which, at times, can be very humid; January and February are the coolest months with daily maximum temperatures typically ranging from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F). Alexandria experiences violent storms, rain and sometimes hail during the cooler months. July and August are the hottest and most humid months of the year with an average daily maximum temperature of 30 °C (86 °F).

Climate data for Alexandria
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.4
(65)
19.3
(67)
20.9
(70)
24.0
(75)
26.5
(80)
28.6
(83)
29.7
(85)
30.4
(87)
29.6
(85)
27.6
(82)
24.1
(75)
20.1
(68)
24.9
(77)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.8
(57)
14.3
(58)
15.9
(61)
18.7
(66)
21.6
(71)
24.5
(76)
26.3
(79)
26.8
(80)
25.5
(78)
22.7
(73)
19.2
(67)
15.4
(60)
20.4
(69)
Average low °C (°F) 9.1
(48)
9.3
(49)
10.8
(51)
13.4
(56)
16.6
(62)
20.3
(69)
22.8
(73)
23.1
(74)
21.3
(70)
17.8
(64)
14.3
(58)
10.6
(51)
15.8
(60)
Precipitation mm (inches) 55.2
(2.17)
29.2
(1.15)
14.3
(0.56)
3.6
(0.14)
1.3
(0.05)
0.01
(0)
0.03
(0)
0.1
(0)
0.8
(0.03)
9.4
(0.37)
31.7
(1.25)
52.7
(2.07)
195.9
(7.71)
Avg. precipitation days 11.0 8.9 6.0 1.9 1.0 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.2 2.9 5.4 9.5 46.92
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[7] 27-09-2009
Alexandria from space, March 1990

Layout of the ancient city

Greek Alexandria was divided into three regions:

Brucheum
the Royal or Greek quarter, forming the most magnificent portion of the city. In Roman times Brucheum was enlarged by the addition of an official quarter, making four regions in all. The city was laid out as a grid of parallel streets, each of which had an attendant subterranean canal;
The Jewish quarter
forming the northeast portion of the city;
Rhakotis
The old city of Rhakotis that had been absorbed into Alexandria. It was occupied chiefly by Egyptians. (from Coptic Rakotə "Alexandria").

Two main streets, lined with colonnades and said to have been each about 60 metres (200 ft) wide, intersected in the centre of the city, close to the point where the Sema (or Soma) of Alexander (his Mausoleum) rose. This point is very near the present mosque of Nebi Daniel; and the line of the great East–West "Canopic" street, only slightly diverged from that of the modern Boulevard de Rosette (now Sharia Fouad). Traces of its pavement and canal have been found near the Rosetta Gate, but remnants of streets and canals were exposed in 1899 by German excavators outside the east fortifications, which lie well within the area of the ancient city.

Alexandria consisted originally of little more than the island of Pharos, which was joined to the mainland by a mole nearly a mile long (1260 m) and called the Heptastadion ("seven stadia" — a stadium was a Greek unit of length measuring approximately 180 m). The end of this abutted on the land at the head of the present Grand Square, where the "Moon Gate" rose. All that now lies between that point and the modern "Ras al-Tiin" quarter is built on the silt which gradually widened and obliterated this mole. The "Ras al-Tiin" quarter represents all that is left of the island of Pharos, the site of the actual lighthouse having been weathered away by the sea. On the east of the mole was the Great Harbour, now an open bay; on the west lay the port of Eunostos, with its inner basin Kibotos, now vastly enlarged to form the modern harbour.

In Strabo's time, (latter half of 1st century BC) the principal buildings were as follows, enumerated as they were to be seen from a ship entering the Great Harbour.

  1. The Royal Palaces, filling the northeast angle of the town and occupying the promontory of Lochias, which shut in the Great Harbour on the east. Lochias (the modern Pharillon) has almost entirely disappeared into the sea, together with the palaces, the "Private Port," and the island of Antirrhodus. There has been a land subsidence here, as throughout the northeast coast of Africa.
  2. The Great Theater, on the modern Hospital Hill near the Ramleh station. This was used by Caesar as a fortress, where he withstood a siege from the city mob after the battle of Pharsalus
  3. The Poseidon, or Temple of the Sea God, close to the Theatre
  4. The Timonium built by Marc Antony
  5. The Emporium (Exchange)
  6. The Apostases (Magazines)
  7. The Navalia (Docks), lying west of the Timonium, along the seafront as far as the mole
  8. Behind the Emporium rose the Great Caesareum, by which stood the two great obelisks, which become known as “Cleopatra's Needles”, and were transported to New York City and London. This temple became, in time, the Patriarchal Church, though some ancient remains of the temple have been discovered. The actual Caesareum, the parts not eroded by the waves, lies under the houses lining the new seawall.
  9. The Gymnasium and the Palaestra are both inland, near the Boulevard de Rosette in the eastern half of the town; sites unknown.
  10. The Temple of Saturn; site unknown.
  11. The Mausolea of Alexander (Soma) and the Ptolemies in one ring-fence, near the point of intersection of the two main streets.
  12. The Musaeum with its famous Library and theatre in the same region; site unknown.
  13. The Serapeum, the most famous of all Alexandrian temples. Strabo tells us that this stood in the west of the city; and recent discoveries go far as to place it near “Pompey's Pillar” which was an independent monument erected to commemorate Diocletian's siege of the city.
Location of Alexandria on the map of Egypt

The names of a few other public buildings on the mainland are known, but there is little information as to their actual position. None, however, are as famous as the building that stood on the eastern point of Pharos island. There, the The Great Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, reputed to be 138 metres (450 ft) high, was sited. The first Ptolemy began the project, and the second Ptolemy completed it, at a total cost of 800 talents. It took 12 years to complete and served as a prototype for all later lighthouses in the world. The light was produced by a furnace at the top and the tower was built mostly with solid blocks of limestone. The Pharos lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century, making it the second longest surviving ancient wonder next to the Great Pyramid of Giza. A temple of Hephaestus also stood on Pharos at the head of the mole.

In the first century, the population of Alexandria contained over 180,000 adult male citizens (from a papyrus dated 32 CE), in addition to a large number of freedmen, women, children, and slaves. Estimates of the total population range from 500,000 to over 1,000,000, making it one of the largest cities ever built before the Industrial Revolution and the largest pre-industrial city that was not an imperial capital.

Ancient remains

Pompey's Pillar

Very little of the ancient city has survived into the present day. Much of the royal and civic quarters sank beneath the harbour due to earthquake subsidence, and the rest has been built over in modern times.

"Pompey's Pillar" is one of the best-known ancient monuments still standing in Alexandria today. It is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis — a modest hill located adjacent to the city's Arab cemetery — and was originally part of a temple colonnade. Including its pedestal, it is 30 m (99 ft) high; the shaft is of polished red granite, 2.7 meters in diameter at the base, tapering to 2.4 meters at the top. The shaft is 88 feet high made out of a single piece of granite. This would be 132 cubic meters or approximately 396 tons.[8][9] Pompey's Pillar may have been erected using the same methods that were used to erect the ancient obelisks. The Romans had cranes but they weren't strong enough to lift something this heavy. Roger Hopkins and Mark Lehrner conducted several obelisk erecting experiments including a successful attempt to erect a 25 ton obelisk in 1999. This followed two experiments to erect smaller obelisks and two failed attempts to erect a 25 ton obelisk.[10][11] The structure was plundered and demolished in the 4th century when a bishop decreed that Paganism must be eradicated. "Pompey's Pillar" is a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with Pompey, having been erected in 293 for Diocletian, possibly in memory of the rebellion of Domitius Domitianus. Beneath the acropolis itself are the subterranean remains of the Serapeum, where the mysteries of the god Serapis were enacted, and whose carved wall niches are believed to have provided overflow storage space for the ancient Library.

Alexandria's catacombs, known as Kom al-Shoqafa, are a short distance southwest of the pillar, consist of a multi-level labyrinth, reached via a large spiral staircase, and featuring dozens of chambers adorned with sculpted pillars, statues, and other syncretic Romano-Egyptian religious symbols, burial niches and sarcophagi, as well as a large Roman-style banquet room, where memorial meals were conducted by relatives of the deceased. The catacombs were long forgotten by the citizens until they were discovered by accident in the 1800s.

The most extensive ancient excavation currently being conducted in Alexandria is known as Kom al-Dikka, and it has revealed the ancient city's well-preserved theatre, and the remains of its Roman-era baths.

Antiquities

Persistent efforts have been made to explore the antiquities of Alexandria. Encouragement and help have been given by the local Archaeological Society, and by many individuals, notably Greeks proud of a city which is one of the glories of their national history.

The past and present directors of the museum have been enabled from time to time to carry out systematic excavations whenever opportunity is offered; D. G. Hogarth made tentative researches on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1895; and a German expedition worked for two years (1898–1899). But two difficulties face the would-be excavator in Alexandria: lack of space for excavation and the underwater location of some areas of interest.

Since the great and growing modern city stands immediately over the ancient one, it is almost impossible to find any considerable space in which to dig, except at enormous cost. Also, the general subsidence of the coast has submerged the lower-lying parts of the ancient town under water. This underwater section, containing many of the most interesting sections of the Hellenistic city, including the palace quarter, is still being extensively investigated by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team.[12] It raised a noted head of Caesarion. These are being opened up to tourists, to some controversy.[13] The spaces that are most open are the low grounds to northeast and southwest, where it is practically impossible to get below the Roman strata.

The most important results were those achieved by Dr. G. Botti, late director of the museum, in the neighbourhood of “Pompey's Pillar”, where there is a good deal of open ground. Here substructures of a large building or group of buildings have been exposed, which are perhaps part of the Serapeum. Nearby, immense catacombs and columbaria have been opened which may have been appendages of the temple. These contain one very remarkable vault with curious painted reliefs, now artificially lit and open to visitors.

The objects found in these researches are in the museum, the most notable being a great basalt bull, probably once an object of cult in the Serapeum. Other catacombs and tombs have been opened in Kom al-Shoqqafa (Roman) and Ras al-Tiin (painted).

The German excavation team found remains of a Ptolemaic colonnade and streets in the north-east of the city, but little else. Hogarth explored part of an immense brick structure under the mound of Kom al-Dikka, which may have been part of the Paneum, the Mausolea, or a Roman fortress.

The making of the new foreshore led to the dredging up of remains of the Patriarchal Church; and the foundations of modern buildings are seldom laid without some objects of antiquity being discovered. The wealth underground is doubtlessly immense; but despite all efforts, there is not much for antiquarians to see in Alexandria outside the museum and the neighbourhood of “Pompey's Pillar”. The native tomb-robbers, well-sinkers, dredgers, and the like, however, come upon valuable objects from time to time, most of which find their way into private collections.

Modern city

Districts

Alexandria at night
Statue of Alexander the Great riding Bucephalus and carrying the Angel of Peace facing the entrance to the Greek corner of Alexandria and the Ancient Kom el Dekka neighbourhood

Modern Alexandria is divided into six districts:

  • al-Montaza District: population 1,190,287
  • Sharak (Eastern Alexandria District: population 985,786
  • Wassat (Central Alexandria) District: population 520,450
  • al-Amriya District: population 845,845
  • Agamy (Western Alexandria) District: population 386,374
  • al-Gomrok District: population 145,558

There are also two cities under the jurisdiction of the Alexandria governorate forming metropolitan Alexandria:

  • Borg Al-Arab city: population 186,900
  • New Borg Al-Arab city: population 7,600

Neighbourhoods

Agami, Amreya, Anfoushi, Assafra, Attarine, Azarita (aka Mazarita; originally Lazarette), Bab Sidra, Bahari, Bacchus, Bolkly (Bokla), Burg el-Arab, Camp Shezar, Cleopatra, Dekheila, Downtown, Eastern Harbour, Fleming, Gabbari (aka: Qabbari, Qubbary, Kabbary), Gianaclis, Glym (short for Glymenopoulos), Gumrok (aka al-Gomrok), Hadara, Ibrahimeya, King Mariout, Kafr Abdu, Karmous, also known as Karmouz, Kom el-Dik (aka Kom el-Dekka), Labban, Laurent, Louran, Maamoura Beach, Maamoura, Mafrouza, Mandara, Manshiyya, Mex, Miami, Montaza, Muharram Bey, Mustafa Kamel, Ramleh (aka el-Raml), Ras el-Tin, Rushdy, Saba Pasha , San Stefano, Shatby, Schutz, Sidi Bishr, Sidi Gaber, Smouha, Sporting, Stanley, Syouf, Tharwat, Victoria, Wardeyan, Western Harbour and Zizinia.

Squares

Palaces

Recreational

Religion

Christianity

Latin Catholic church of Saint Catherine in Mansheya.
Eliyahu Hanavi

After Rome, Alexandria was considered the major seat of Christianity in the world. The Pope of Alexandria was the second among equals, second only to the bishop of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire until 430. The Church of Alexandria had jurisdiction over the entire continent of Africa. After the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., the Church of Alexandria was split between the Miaphysites and the Melkites. The Miaphysites went on to constitute what is known today as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Melkites went on the constitute what is known today as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. In the 19th century, Catholic and Protestant missionaries converted some of the adherents of the Orthodox churches to their respective faiths.

Today, the patriarchal seat of the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church is Saint Mark Cathedral in Ramleh. The most important Coptic Orthodox churches in Alexandria include Pope Cyril I Church in Cleopatra, Saint Georges Church in Sporting, Saint Mark & Pope Peter I Church in Sidi Bishr, Saint Mary Church in Assafra, Saint Mary Church in Gianaclis, Saint Mina Church in Fleming, Saint Mina Church in Mandara, and Saint Tekle Haymanot Church in Ibrahimeya.

The most important Greek Orthodox churches in Alexandria are Saint Anargyri Church, Church of the Annunciation, Saint Anthony Church, Archangels Gabriel & Michael Church, Saint Catherine Church, Cathedral of the Dormition in Mansheya, Church of the Dormition, Prophet Elijah Church, Saint Georges Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ibrahemeya, Saint Joseph Church in Fleming, Saint Joseph of Arimathea Church, Saint Mark & Saint Nectarios Chapel in Ramleh, Saint Nicholas Church, Saint Paraskevi Church, Saint Sava Cathedral in Ramleh, and Saint Theodore Chapel. In communion with the Greek Orthodox Church is the Russian Orthodox church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Alexandria, which serves the Russian speaking community in the city.

Churches that follow the Latin Catholic rite include Saint Catherine Church in Mansheya and Church of the Jesuits in Cleopatra.

The Saint Mark Church in Shatby, found as part of Collège Saint Marc is multi-denominational and hold liturgies according to Latin Catholic, Coptic Catholic and Coptic Orthodox rites.

Islam

Most of the citizens of Alexandria adhere to the religion of Islam. The most famous mosque in Alexandria is Abu el-Abbas el-Mursi Mosque in Anfoushi. Other notable mosques in the city include Ali ibn Abi Talib mosque in Somouha, Bilal mosque, El-Gamee el-Bahari in Mandara, Hatem mosque in Somouha, Hoda el-Islam mosque in Sidi Bishr, El-Mowasah mosque in Hadara, Sharq el-Madina mosque in Miami, El-Shohadaa mosque in Mostafa Kamel, Qaed Ibrahim mosque, Yehia mosque in Zizinya, Sidi Gaber mosque in Sidi Gaber, and Sultan mosque.

Judaism

Alexandria's once very flourishing Jewish community is now almost extinct after the Arab nationalist movement spurred most to leave for Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. The most important synagogue in Alexandria is the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.

Education

Colleges and universities

Alexandria comprises a number of higher education institutions. Alexandria University is a public university that follows the Egyptian system of higher education. Many of its faculties are internationally renowned, most importantly its faculty of engineering. In addition, the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport is a semi-private educational institution that offers courses for both high school and undergraduate level students. Université Senghor is a private French university that focuses on the teaching of humanities, politics and international relations, and which mainly targets students from the African continent. Other institutions of higher education in Alexandria include Alexandria Institute of Technology (AIT) and Pharos University in Alexandria.

Schools

Alexandria has a very long history of foreign educational institutions. The first foreign schools date to the early 19th century, when French missionaries began establishing French charitable schools to educate the Egyptians. Today, the most important French schools in Alexandria run by Catholic missionaries include Collège de la Mère de Dieu, Collège Notre Dame de Sion, Collège Saint Marc, Ecoles des Soeurs Franciscaines (4 different schools), Ecole Gérard, Ecole Saint Gabriel, Ecole Saint-Vincent de Paul, Ecole Sainte Catherine, and Institution Sainte Jeanne-Antide. As a reaction to the establishment of French religious institutions, a secular (laic) mission established Lycée el-Horreya, which initially followed a French system of education, but is currently a public school run by the Egyptian government. The only school in Alexandria that completely follows the French educational system is Ecole Champollion. It is usually frequented by the children of French expatriates and diplomats in Alexandria.

English schools in Alexandria are fewer in number and more recently established, in comparison with the French schools. The most important English language schools in the city include Alexandria American School, British School of Alexandria, Egyptian American School, Modern American School, Sacred Heart Girls' School (SHS), Schutz American School, Victoria College,
El Manar Language School for Girls (M.E.G.S) previously called (Scottish School for Girls),Kaumeya Language School (KLS), El Nasr Boys' School (EBS), and El Nasr Girls' College (EGC). Most of these schools have been nationalized during the era of Nasser, and are currently Egyptian public schools run by the Egyptian ministry of education.

The only German school in Alexandria is the Deutsche Schule der Borromärinnen (DSB of Saint Charles Borromé).

N.B: The most notable public schools in Alexandria include Gamal Abdel Nasser High School and EL Manar English language School for girls.

Transport

Alexandria tram
Inside Misr Station

Airports

Alexandria is served by the nearby Alexandria International Airport, located 7 km to the southeast. Another airport serves Alexandria named Borg al Arab Airport located about 25 km away from city centre.

From March 2010, Alexandria International Airport will close to commercial operations with all airlines operating out of Borg al Arab Airport where a brand new terminal was completed in February 2010.[14]

Highways

  • The International coastal road. (Alexandria - Port Said)
  • The Desert road. (Alexandria - Cairo /220 km 6-8 lanes, mostly lit)
  • The Agricultural road. (Alexandria - Cairo)
  • The Circular road. the turnpike
  • Ta'ameer Road "Mehwar El-Ta'ameer" - (Alexandria - North Coast)

Train

Extends from "Misr Station"; the main railway station in Alexandria, to Abu Qir.

Railway stations include:

  • Misr Station (the main station)
  • Sidi Gaber Station

Tram

An extensive tramway network was built in 1860 and is the oldest in Africa.

Other means of public transport

Double decker bus

Buses and minibuses.

Port

The port is divided into:

  • The Eastern Harbour
  • The Western Harbour

Culture

Libraries

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a modern project based on reviving the ancient Library of Alexandria.

The Royal Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the largest library in the world. It is generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. It was likely created after his father had built what would become the first part of the Library complex, the temple of the Muses — the Museion, Greek Μουσείον (from which the modern English word museum is derived).

It has been reasonably established that the Library, or parts of the collection, were destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (library fires were common and replacement of handwritten manuscripts was very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming). To this day the details of the destruction (or destructions) remain a lively source of controversy. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old Library.

Museums

The museum is housed in the old Al-Saad Bassili Pasha Palace, who was one of the wealthiest wood merchants in Alexandria. Construction on the site was first undertaken in 1926.

Related words

  • al-Iskandareyya(h) (الإسكندرية) (noun) (formal): Refers to the city of "Alexandria", used in formal texts and speech. Its Egyptian Arabic equivalent is Eskenderreya or Iskindereyya(h). Iskandariyya(h) and Eskendereyya(h) are different in pronunciation, though they have the same spelling when written in Arabic. In Literary Arabic, Iskandariyya(h) always takes the definite article al-, whereas in Egyptian Arabic, Eskendereyya(h) never takes al-. The optional h at the end of both of them is called a ta' marbuta which is not usually pronounced, but is always written.
  • "Alex" (noun): Natives of both Alexandria and Cairo who have a certain knowledge of English refer to Alexandria as "Alex", especially informally.
  • Eskandarany (اسكندراني) (adjective): Means 'native Alexandrian' (masc.) or 'from Alexandria' in Egyptian Arabic.

Sports

A group of cyclists in Alexandria

The main sport that interests Alexandrians is football, as is the case in the rest of Egypt and Africa. Alexandria Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Alexandria, Egypt. It is currently used mostly for football matches, and was used for the 2006 African Cup of Nations. The stadium is the oldest stadium in Egypt and Africa, being built in 1929. The stadium holds 20,000 people. Alexandria was one of three cities that participated in hosting the African Cup of Nations in January 2006, which Egypt won. Sea sports such as surfing, jet-skiing and water polo are practised on a lower scale.

Alexandria has four stadiums:

Other less popular sports like tennis and squash are usually played in private social and sports clubs, like:

Alexandria Cycling Carnival

There is also the Alexandria weekly cycling carnival, Organized by Cycle Egypt group, which is held every Friday, Cycling amateurs gather every Friday morning to cycle through El Courniche from El Montazah to El Qalaa.

Writings

  • History
    • Alexandria: A History and a Guide (1922; numerous reprints) by E.M. Forster.
    • Alexandria: City of Memory (Yale University Press, 2004) by Michael Haag.
    • Vintage Alexandria: Photographs of the City 1860-1960 (The American University in Cairo Press, 2008) by Michael Haag.
  • Memoirs
    • Out of Egypt (1994; describes family history in Alexandria) by André Aciman.
    • Farewell to Alexandria (tr. 2004) Harry E. Tzalas.

Songs

Tourism

Alexandria is a main summer resort in the Middle East, visited by people from all other cities to enjoy the sun and the sea. Beaches become full of umbrellas and families and the city is usually crowded in summer. There are both public beaches (which anyone can use for free, and are usually crowded) and private beaches (which can be used upon paying a small fee). There are also private beaches that are dedicated only to the guests of some hotels.

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Alexandria is twinned with:

See also

Notes

  • "Alexandria: City of Memory" by Michael Haag (London and New Haven, 2004). A social, political and literary portrait of cosmopolitan Alexandria during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Victor W. Von Hagen. The Roads that led to Rome The World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York. 1967.

References

  1. ^ Erskine, Andrew (1995-04). "Greece & Rome, 2nd Ser.,". Culture and Power in Ptolemaic Egypt: the Museum and Library of Alexandria 42, (1): pp 38–48 [42]. "One effect of the newly created Hellenistic kingdoms was the imposition of Greek cities occupied by Greeks on an alien landscape. In Egypt there was a native Egyptian population with its own culture, history, and traditions. The Greeks who came to Egypt, to the court or to live in Alexandria, were separated from their original cultures. Alexandria was the main Greek city of Egypt and within it there was an extraordinary mix of Greeks from many cities and backgrounds.". 
  2. ^ Erskine, Andrew (1994-04). "Greece & Rome, 2nd Ser.,". Culture and Power in Ptolemaic Egypt: the Museum and Library of Alexandria 42 (1): pp 38–48 [42–43]. "The Ptolemaic emphasis on Greek culture establishes the Greeks of Egypt with an identity for themselves. […] But the emphasis on Greek culture does even more than this – these are Greeks ruling in a foreign land. The more Greeks can indulge in their own culture, the more they can exclude non-Greeks, in other words Egyptians, the subjects whose land has been taken over. The assertion of Greek culture serves to enforce Egyptian subjection. So the presence in Alexandria of two institutions devoted to the preservation and study of Greek culture acts as a powerful symbol of Egyptian exclusion and subjection. Texts from other cultures could be kept in the library, but only once they had been translated, that is to say Hellenized.
    […] A reading of Alexandrian poetry might easily give the impression that Egyptians did not exist at all; indeed Egypt itself is hardly mentioned except for the Nile and the Nile flood, […] This omission of the Egypt and Egyptians from poetry masks a fundamental insecurity. It is no coincidence that one of the few poetic references to Egyptians presents them as muggers.".
     
  3. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, "Res Gestae", 26.10.15-19
  4. ^ Stiros, Stathis C.: “The AD 365 Crete earthquake and possible seismic clustering during the fourth to sixth centuries AD in the Eastern Mediterranean: a review of historical and archaeological data”, Journal of Structural Geology, Vol. 23 (2001), pp. 545-562 (549 & 557)
  5. ^ Koeppen-Geiger.vu-wien.ac.at
  6. ^ Britannica Britannica.com
  7. ^ "Weather Information for Alexandria". http://www.worldweather.org/059/c01268.htm. 
  8. ^ "The Sarapeion, including Pompay's Pillar In Alexandria, Egypt". Touregypt.net. http://touregypt.net/featurestories/sarapeiona.htm. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  9. ^ The Pyramids and Sphinx by Desmond Stewert and editors of the Newsweek Book Division 1971 p. 80-81
  10. ^ "NOVA Online | Mysteries of the Nile | 27 August 1999: The Third Attempt". Pbs.org. 27 August 1999. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/egypt/dispatches/990827.html. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile (1993)p. 56-57
  12. ^ "Divers probe underwater palace". BBC News. 28 October 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/203470.stm. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  13. ^ "New underwater tourist attraction in Egypt". BBC News. 24 September 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/940333.stm. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  14. ^ "A new gateway for Alexandria", Al-Ahram Weekly, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/954/sk1.htm 
  15. ^ "Bratislava City - Twin Towns". Bratislava-City.sk. http://www.bratislava-city.sk/bratislava-twin-towns. Retrieved 26 October 2008. 
  16. ^ "Sister Cities Home Page". http://www.durban.gov.za/durban/government/igr/idr/sister.  eThekwini Online: The Official Site of the City of Durban
  17. ^ "Baltimore City Mayor's Office of International and Immigrant Affairs - Sister Cities Program". http://www.baltimorecity.gov/government/intl/sistercities.php. Retrieved 18 July 2009. 

External links

Coordinates: 31°11′53″N 29°55′09″E / 31.198°N 29.9192°E / 31.198; 29.9192

Preceded by
Sais
Capital of Egypt
331 BC - 641 AD
Succeeded by
Fustat


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALEXANDRIA (Arab. Iskenderia), a city and chief seaport of Egypt, and for over a thousand years from its foundation the capital of the country, situated on the Mediterranean in 31° 12' N., 2 9 ° 15' E., and 129 m. by rail N.W. of Cairo. The ancient Canopic mouth of the Nile (now dry) was 12 m. E.

I. The Modern City. - The city is built on the strip of land which separates the Mediterranean from Lake Mareotis (Mariut), and on a T-shaped peninsula which forms harbours east and west. The stem of the T was originally a mole leading to an island (Pharos) which formed the cross-piece. In the course of centuries this mole has been silted up and is now an isthmus half a mile wide. On it a part of the modern city is built. The cape at the western end of the peninsula is Ras et-Tin (Cape of Figs); the eastern cape is known as Pharos or Kait Bey. South of the town - between it and LakeMareotis - runs theMahmudiya canal, which enters the western harbour by a series of locks.

The customs house and chief warehouses are by the western harbour, but the principal buildings of the city are in the east and south-east quarters. From the landing-stage, by the customs house, roads lead to the Place Mehemet Ali, the centre of the life of the city and the starting-point of the electric tramways. The place, usually called the Grand Square, is an oblong open space, tree-lined, in the centre of which there is an equestrian statue of the prince after whom it is named. The square is faced with handsome buildings mainly in the Italian style. The most important are the law courts, exchange, Ottoman bank, English church and the Abbas Hilmi theatre. A number of short streets lead from the square to the eastern harbour. Here a sea wall, completed in 1905, provides a magnificent drive and promenade along the shore for a distance of about 3 m. In building this quay a considerable area of foreshore was reclaimed and an evil-smelling beach done away with. From the south end of the square the rue Sherif Pasha - in which are the principal shops - and the rue Tewfik Pasha lead to the boulevard, or rue, de Rosette, a long straight road with a general E. and W. direction. In it are the Zizinia theatre and the municipal palace (containing the public library); the museum lies up a short street to the N. Opened in 1895 this museum possesses an important collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, found not only in the city but in all Lower Egypt and the Fayum. The western end of the boulevard leads to the Place Ibrahim, often called Place Ste Catherine, from the Roman Catholic church at its S.E. side. In a street running S. from the boulevard to the railway station is the mosque of Nebi Daniel, containing the tombs of Said Pasha and other members of the khedivial family. Immediately E. of the mosque is Kom edDik, garrisoned by British troops, one of several forts built for the protection of the city. Except Kom ed-Dik the forts have not been repaired since the bombardment of 1882. Equally obsolete is the old line of fortifications which formerly marked the limits of the city south and east and has now been partly demolished. Throughout the central part of Alexandria the streets are paved with blocks of lava and lighted by electricity.

The north quarter is mainly occupied by natives and Levantines. The narrow winding streets and the Arab bazaars present an Oriental scene contrasting with the European aspect of the district already described. This Arab quarter is traversed by the rue Ras et-Tin, leading to the promontory of that name. Here, overlooking the harbour, is the khedivial yacht club (built 1903) and the palace, also called Ras et-Tin, built by Mehemet Ali, a large but not otherwise noteworthy building. In the district between the Grand Square and the western harbour, one of the poorest quarters of the city, is an open space with Fort Caffareli or Napoleon in the centre. This quarter has been pierced by several straight roads, one of which, crossing the Mahmudiya canal by the Pont Neuf, leads to Gabbari, the most westerly part of the city and an industrial and manufacturing region, possessing asphalt works and oil, rice and paper mills. On either side of the canal are the warehouses of wholesale dealers in cotton, wool, sugar, grain and other commodities. In the southern part of the city are the Arab cemetery, "Pompey's Pillar" and the catacombs. "Pompey's Pillar," which stands on the highest spot in Alexandria, is nearly 99 ft. high, including the pedestal. The shaft is of red granite and is beautifully polished. Nine feet in diameter at the base, it tapers to eight feet at the top. The catacombs, a short distance S.W. of the pillar, are hewn out of the rocky slope of a hill, and are an elaborate series of chambers adorned with pillars, statues, religious symbols and traces of painting (see below, Ancient City). Along the northern side of the Mahmudiya canal, which here passes a little S. of the catacombs, are many fine houses and gardens (Moharrem Bey quarter), stretching eastward for a considerable distance, favourite residences of wealthy citizens.

A similar residential quarter has also grown up on the N.E., where the line of the old fortifications has become a boulevard. The district extending outside the E. fortifications, in the direction of Hadra, has been laid out with fine avenues, and contains numerous garden-caf�and pleasure resorts. Thence roads lead to the E. suburb known generally as Ramleh, which stretches along the coast, and is served by a local railway. It begins E. of the racecourse with Sidi Gabr, and does not end till the khedivial estates E. of San Stefano are reached, some 5 m. E. All this space is filled with villas, gardens and hotels, and is a favourite summer resort not only of Alexandrians but also of Cairenes.

The eastern bay is rocky, shallow and exposed, and is now used only by native craft. The harbour is on the W. of Pharos and partly formed by a breakwater (built 1871-1873 and prolonged 1906-1907), 2 m. long. The breakwater starts opposite the promontory of Ras et-Tin, on which is a lighthouse, 180 ft. above the sea, built by Mehemet Ali. Another breakwater starts from the Gabbari side, the opening between the two works being about half a mile. A number of scattered rocks lie across the entrance, but through them two fairways have been made, one 600 ft. wide and 35 ft. deep, the other 300 ft. wide and 30 ft. deep. The enclosed water is divided into an outer and inner harbour by a mole, 1000 yds. long, projecting N.W. from the southern shore. The inner harbour covers 464 acres. It is lined for 21m. by quays, affording accommodation for ships drawing up to 28 ft. The outer harbour (1400 acres water area) is furnished with a graving dock, completed in 1905, 520 ft. long, and with quays and jetties along the Gabbari foreshore. Their construction was begun in 1906. r Alexandria is linked by a network of railway and telegraph lines to the other towns of Egypt, and there is a trunk telephone line to Cairo. The city secured in 1906 a new and adequate water-supply, modern drainage works having been completed the previous year. Being the great entrepot for the trade of Egypt, the city is the headquarters of the British chamber of commerce and of most of the merchants and companies engaged in the development of the Delta. About 90% of the total exports and imports of the country pass through the port, though the completion, in 1904, of a broad-gauge railway connecting Cairo and Port Said deflected some of the cotton exports to the Suez Canal route. The staple export is raw cotton, the value of which is about 80% of all the exports. The principal imports are manufactured cotton goods and other textiles, machinery, timber and coal. The value of the trade of the port increased from £30,000,000 in 1900 to £46,000,000 in 1906. In the same period the tonnage of the ships entering the harbour rose from 2,375,000 to 3,695,000. Of the total trade Great Britain supplies from 35 to 40% of the imports and takes over 50% of the exports. Among the exports sent to England are the great majority of the 80,000,000 eggs annually shipped (see also Egypt: Commerce). The population of the city (1907) was 332,246 or including the suburbs, about 400,000. The foreigners numbered over 90,000. The majority of these were Greeks, Italians, Syrians, Armenians and other Levantines, though almost every European and Oriental nation is represented. The predominant languages spoken, besides the Arabic of the natives, are Greek, French, English and Italian. The labouring population is mainly Egyptian; the Greeks and Levantines are usually shopkeepers or petty traders. In its social life Alexandria is the most progressive and occidental of all the cities of North Africa, with the possible exception of Algiers. (F. R. C.) II. The Ancient City. - The Greek Alexandria was divided into three regions: (1) the Jews' quarter, forming the north-east portion of the city; (2) Rhacotis, on the west, occupied chiefly by Egyptians; (3) Brucheum, the Royal or Greek quarter, forming the most magnificent portion of the city. In Roman times Brucheum was enlarged by the addition of an official quarter, making up the number of four regiones in all. The city was laid out as a gridiron of parallel streets, each of which had an attendant subterranean canal. Two main streets, lined with colonnades and said to have been each about 200 ft. wide, intersected in the centre of the city, close to the point where rose the Sema (or Soma) of Alexander (i.e. his Mausoleum). This point is very near the present mosque of Nebi Daniel; and the line of the great east-west "Canopic" street only slightly diverged from that of the modern Boulevard de Rosette. Traces of its pavement and canal have been found near the Rosetta Gate; but better remains still of streets and canals were exposed in 1899 by the German excavators outside the E. fortifications, which lie well within the area of the ancient city.

Alexandria consisted originally of little more than the island of Pharos, which was joined to the mainland by a mole nearly a mile long and called the Heptastadium. The end of this abutted on the land at the head of the present Grand Square, where rose the "Moon Gate." All that now lies between that point and the modern Ras et-Tin quarter is built on the silt which gradually widened and obliterated this mole. The Ras et-Tin quarter represents all that is left of the island of Pharos, the site of the actual lighthouse having been weathered away by the sea. On the east of the mole was the Great Harbour, now an open bay; on the west lay the port of Eunostos, with its inner basin Kibotos, now vastly enlarged to form the modern harbour.

In Strabo's time, (latter half of 1st century B.C.) the principal buildings were as follows, enumerated as they were to be seen from a ship entering the Great Harbour. (1) The Royal Palaces, filling the N.E. angle of the town and occupying the promontory of Lochias, which shut in the Great Harbour on the east. Lochias, the modern Pharillon, has almost entirely disappeared into the sea, together with the palaces, the "Private Port" and the island of Antirrhodus. There has been a land subsidence here, as throughout the N. Delta and indeed all the N.E. coast of Africa; and on calm days the foundations of buildings may be seen, running out far under sea, near the Pharillon. Search was made for relics of these palaces by German explorers in 1898-1899, but without much success. (2) The Great Theatre, on the modern Hospital Hill near the Ramleh station. This was used by Caesar as a fortress, where he stood a siege from the city mob after the battle of Pharsalus. (3) The Poseideion or Temple of the Sea God, close to the theatre and in front of it. (4) The Timonium built by Antony. (5, 6, 7) The Emporium (Exchange), Apostases (Magazines) and Navalia (Docks), lying west of (4), along the sea-front as far as the mole. Behind the Emporium rose (8) the Great Caesareum, by which stood the two great obelisks, later known as "Cleopatra's Needles," and now removed to New York and London. This temple became in time the Patriarchal Church, some remains of which have been discovered: but the actual Caesareum, so far as not eroded by the waves, lies under the houses lining the new sea-wall. (9) The Gymnasium and (10) the Palaestra are both inland, near the great Canopic street (Boulevard de Rosette) in the eastern half of the town, but on sites not determined. (11) The Temple of Saturn: site unknown. (12) The Mausolea of Alexander (Soma) and the Ptolemies in one ring-fence, near the point of intersection of the two main streets. (13) The Museum with its library and theatre in the same region; but on a site not identified. (14) The Serapeum, the most famous of all Alexandrian temples. Strabo tells us that this stood in the west of the city; and recent discoveries go far to place it near "Pompey's Pillar" (see above), which, however, was an independent monument erected to commemorate Diocletian's siege of the city. We know the names of a few other public buildings on the mainland, but nothing as to their position. On the eastern point of the Pharos island stood the Great Lighthouse, one of the "Seven Wonders," reputed to be 400 ft. high. The first Ptolemy began it, and the second completed it, at a total cost of Boo talents. It is the prototype of all lighthouses in the world. A temple of Hephaestus also stood on Pharos at the head of the mole. In the Augustan age the population of Alexandria was estimated at 300,000 free folk, in addition to an immense number of slaves.

III. History. - Founded in 332 B.C. by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Greek centre in Egypt, and to be the link between Macedonia and the rich Nile Valley. If such a city was to be on the Egyptian coast, there was only one possible site, behind the screen of the Pharos island and removed from the silt thrown out by Nile mouths. An Egyptian townlet, Rhacotis, already stood on the shore and was a resort of fishermen and pirates. Behind it (according to the Alexandrian treatise, known as pseudo-Callisthenes) were five native villages scattered along the strip between Lake Mareotis and the sea. Alexander occupied Pharos, and had a walled city marked out by Deinocrates on the mainland to include Rhacotis. A few months later he left Egypt for the East and never returned to his city; but his corpse was ultimately entombed there. His viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the creation of Alexandria. The Heptastadium, however, and the mainland quarters seem to have been mainly Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the centre of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a century to be larger than Carthage; and for some centuries more it had to acknowledge no superior but Rome. It was a centre not only of Hellenism but of Semitism, and the greatest Jewish city in the world. There the Septuagint was produced. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Greek university; but they were careful to maintain the distinction of its population into three nations, "Macedonian" (i.e. Greek), Jew and Egyptian. From this division arose much of the later turbulence which began to manifest itself under Ptolemy Philopater. Nominally a free Greek city, Alexandria retained its senate to Roman times; and indeed the judicial functions of that body were restored by Septimius Severus, after temporary abolition by Augustus. The city passed formally under Roman jurisdiction in 80 B.C., according to the will of Ptolemy Alexander; but it had been under Roman influence for more than a hundred years previously. There Julius Caesar dallied with Cleopatra in 47 B.C. and was mobbed by the rabble; there his example was followed by Antony, for whose favour the city paid dear to Octavian, who placed over it a prefect from the imperial household. Alexandria seems from this time to have regained its old prosperity, commanding, as it did, an important granary of Rome. This latter fact, doubtless, was one of the chief reasons which induced Augustus to place it directly under the imperial power. In A.D. 215 the emperor Caracalla visited the city; and, in order to repay some insulting satires that the inhabitants had made upon him, he commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. This brutal order seems to have been carried out even beyond the letter, for a general massacre was the result. Notwithstanding this terrible disaster, Alexandria soon recovered its former splendour, and for some time longer was esteemed the first city of the world after Rome. Even as its main historical importance had formerly sprung from pagan learning, so now it acquired fresh importance as a centre of Christian theology and church government. There Arianism was formulated and there Athanasius, the great opponent of both heresy and pagan reaction, worked and triumphed. As native influences, however, began to reassert themselves in the Nile valley, Alexandria gradually became an alien city, more and more detached from Egypt; and, losing much of its commerce as the peace of the empire broke up during the 3rd century A.D., it declined fast in population and splendour. The Brucheum and Jewish quarters were desolate in the 5th century, and the central monuments, the Soma and Museum, fallen to ruin. On the mainland life seems to have centred in the vicinity of the Serapeum and Caesareum, both become Christian churches: but the Pharos and Heptastadium quarters remained populous and intact. In 616 it was taken by Chosroes, king of Persia; and in 6 4 o by the Arabians, under `Amr, after a siege that lasted fourteen months, during which Heraclius, the emperor of Constantinople, did not send a single ship to its assistance. Notwithstanding the losses that the city had sustained, `Amr was able to write to his master, the caliph Omar, that he had taken a city containing "4000 palaces, 4000 baths, 12,000 dealers in fresh oil, 12,000 gardeners, 40,000 Jews who pay tribute, 400 theatres or places of amusement." The story of the destruction of the library by the Arabs is first told by Bar-hebraeus (Abulfaragius), a Christian writer who lived six centuries later; and it is of very doubtful authority. It is highly improbable that many of the 700,000 volumes collected by the Ptolemies remained at the time of the Arab conquest, when the various calamities of Alexandria from the time of Caesar to that of Diocletian are considered, together with the disgraceful pillage of the library in A.D. 389 under the rule of the Christian bishop, Theophilus, acting on Theodosius' decree concerning pagan monuments (see Libraries: Ancient History). The story of Abulfaragius runs as follows: John the Grammarian, a famous Peripatetic philosopher, being in Alexandria at the time of its capture, and in high favour with `Amr, begged that he would give him the royal library. `Amr told him that it was not in his power to grant such a request, but promised to write to the caliph for his consent. Omar, on hearing the request of his general, is said to have replied that if those books contained the same doctrine with the Koran, they could be of no use, since the Koran contained all necessary truths; but if they contained anything contrary to that book, they ought to be destroyed; and therefore, whatever their contents were, he ordered them to be burnt. Pursuant to this order, they were distributed among the public baths, of which there was a large number in the city, where, for six months, they served to supply the fires.

Shortly after its capture Alexandria again fell into the hands of the Greeks, who took advantage of 'Amr's absence with the greater portion of his army. On hearing what had happened, however, `Amr returned, and quickly regained possession of the city. About the year 646 `Amr was deprived of his government by the caliph Othman. The Egyptians, by whom `Amr was greatly beloved, were so much dissatisfied by this act, and even showed such a tendency to revolt, that the Greek emperor determined to make an effort to reduce Alexandria. The attempt proved perfectly successful. The caliph, perceiving his mistake, immediately restored `Amr, who, on his arrival in Egypt, drove the Greeks within the walls of Alexandria, but was only able to capture the city after a most obstinate resistance by the defenders. This so exasperated him that he completely demolished its fortifications, although he seems to have spared the lives of the inhabitants as far as lay in his power. Alexandria now rapidly declined in importance. The building of Cairo in 969, and, above all, the discovery of the route to the East by the Cape of Good Hope in 1498, nearly ruined its commerce; the canal, which supplied it with Nile water, became blocked; and although it remained a principal Egyptian port, at which most European visitors in the Mameluke and Ottoman periods landed, we hear little of it until about the beginning of the 19th century.

[Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's Egyptian expedition of 1798. The French troops stormed the city on the 2nd of July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of the British expedition of 1801. The battle of Alexandria, fought on the 21st of March of that year, between the French army under General Menou and the British expeditionary corps under Sir Ralph Abercromby, took place near the ruins of Nicopolis, on the narrow spit of land between the sea and Lake Aboukir, along which the British of troops had advanced towards Alexandria after the actions of Aboukir on the 8th and Mandora on the 13th. The British position on the night of the 10th extended across the isthmus, the right resting upon the ruins of Nicopolis and the sea, the left on the lake of Aboukir and the Alexandria canal. The line faced generally south-west towards the city, the reserve division under Major-General (Sir) John Moore on the right, the Guards brigade in the centre, and three other brigades on the left. In second line were two brigades and the cavalry (dismounted). On the 21st the troops were under arms at 3 A.M., and at 3.30 the French attacked and drove in the outposts. The French army now moved forward with great rapidity in their usual formation of columns. The brunt of the attack fell upon the command of Moore, and in particular upon the 28th (Gloucestershire Regiment). The first shock was repulsed, but a French column penetrated in the dark between two regiments of the British and a confused fight ensued in the ruins, in which the 42nd (Black Watch) captured a colour. The front and rear ranks of the 28th were simultaneously engaged, and the conduct of the regiment won for it the distinction of wearing badges both at the front and at the back of their head-dress. Other regiments which assisted in the overthrow of the French column were the 23rd, 40th and 58th. In a second attack the enemy's cavalry inflicted severe losses on the 42nd. Sir Ralph Abercromby was here engaged in personal conflict with some French dragoons, and about this time received a mortal wound, though he remained on the field and in command to the end. The attack on the centre was repulsed by the cool and steady fire of the Guards, and the left wing maintained its position with ease, but the French cavalry for the second time came to close quarters with the reserve. About half-past eight the combat began to wane, and the last shots were fired at ten. The real attack had been pressed home on the British right, and the History of the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment gives no undue praise to the regiments of the reserve in saying that "the determined attack would have been successful against almost any other troops." Technically, the details of the action show that, while not markedly better in a m�e than the war-seasoned French, the British infantry had in its volleys a power which no other troops then existing possessed, and it was these volleys that decided the day even more than the individual stubbornness of the men. The 42nd, twice charged by cavalry, had but thirteen men wounded by the sabre. Part of the French losses, which were disproportionately heavy, were caused by the gunboats which lay close inshore and cannonaded the left flank of the French columns, and by a heavy naval gun which was placed in battery near the position of the 28th. The forces engaged on this day were approximately 14,000 British to about 20,000 French, and the losses were: - British, 1468 killed, wounded and missing, including Abercromby (who died on the 28th), Moore and three other generals wounded; French, 1160 killed and (?) 3000 wounded. The British subsequently advanced upon Alexandria, which surrendered on the 31st of August. (C. F. A.).] During the anarchy which accompanied Ottoman rule in Egypt from first to last, Alexandria sank to a small town of about 4000 inhabitants; and it owed its modern renascence solely to Mehemet Ali, who wanted a deep port and naval station for his viceregal domain. He restored its water communication with the Nile by making the Mahmudiya canal, finished in 1820; and he established at Ras et-Tin his favourite residence. The old Eunostus harbour became the port, and a flourishing city arose on the old Pharos island and the Heptastadium district, with outlying suburbs and villa residences along the coast eastwards and the Mareotic shore. Being the starting-point of the "overland route" to India, and the residence of the chief foreign consuls, it quickly acquired a European character and attracted not only Frank residents, but great numbers of Greeks, Jews and Syrians. There most of the negotiations between the powers and Mehemet Ali were conducted; thence started the Egyptian naval expeditions to Crete, the Morea and Syria; and thither sailed the betrayed Ottoman fleet in 1839. It was twice threatened by hostile fleets, the Greek in 1827 and the combined British, French and Russian squadrons in 1828. The latter withdrew on the viceroy's promise that Ibrahim should evacuate the Morea. The fortifications were strengthened in 1841, and remained in an antiquated condition until 1882, when they were renovated by Arabi Pasha. Alexandria was connected with Cairo by railway in 1856. Much favoured by the earlier viceroys of Mehemet Ali's house, and removed from the Mameluke troubles, Alexandria was the real capital of Egypt till Said Pasha died there in 1863 and Ismail came into power. Though this prince continued to develop the city, giving it a municipality in 1866 1 and new harbour works in 1871-1878, he developed Cairo still more; and the centre of gravity definitely shifted to the inland capital. Fate, however, again brought Alexandria to the front. After a mutiny of soldiers there in 1881, the town was greatly excited by the arrival of an Anglo-French fleet in May 1882, and on the 11th of June a terrible riot and massacre took place, resulting in the death of four hundred Europeans. Since satisfaction was not given for this and the forts were being strengthened at the instigation of Arabi Pasha, the war minister, the British admiral, Sir Beauchamp Seymour (afterwards Lord Alcester), sent an ultimatum on the 10th of July and opened fire on the forts the next day. They were demolished, but as no troops were landed immediately a fresh riot and massacre ensued. As Arabi did not submit, a British military expedition landed at Alexandria on the 10th of August, the sequel being the British occupation of the whole country, the history of which is set forth under Egypt.

Since the restoration of tranquillity and the establishment of sound political and economic conditions in the Nile valley, Alexandria has greatly expanded. As the British consular report for 1904 says, "Building. .. for residential and other purposes proceeds with almost feverish rapidity. The cost of living has doubled and the price of land has risen enormously." On the E. and S.E. a new town of handsome houses, gardens and boulevards has been called into existence, in the arrangement of which the controlling influence of the municipality is evident (see Modern City above).

IV. Antiquities. - Persistent efforts have been made to explore the antiquities of Alexandria. Encouragement and help have been given by the local Archaeological Society, and by many individuals, notably Greeks justly proud of a city which is one of the glories of their national story. The past and present directors of the museum have been enabled from time to time to carry out systematic excavations when opportunity offered; Mr D. G. Hogarth made tentative researches on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1895; and a German expedition worked for two years (1898-1899). But two difficulties face the wouldbe excavator in Alexandria. First, since the great and growing modern city stands right over the ancient one, it is almost impossible to find any considerable space in which to dig, except at enormous cost. Second, the general subsidence of the coast has sunk the lower-lying parts of the ancient town under water. Unfortunately the spaces still most open are the low grounds to N.E. and S.W., where it is practically impossible to get below the Roman strata.

The most important results were those achieved by Dr G. Botti, late director of the museum, in the neighbourhood of "Pompey's Pillar," where there is a good deal of open ground. Here substructures of a large building or group of buildings have been exposed, which are perhaps part of the Serapeum. Hard by immense catacombs and columbaria have been opened which may have been appendages of the temple. These contain one 1 This municipality was superseded by a new municipal body, with extensive powers, created in 1890.

city. very remarkable vault with curious painted reliefs, now lighted by electricity and shown to visitors. The objects found in these researches are in the museum, the most notable being a great basalt bull, probably once an object of cult in the Serapeum. Other catacombs and tombs have been opened in Kom es-Shugafa Hadra (Roman) and Ras et-Tin (painted). The Germans found remains of a Ptolemaic colonnade and streets in the north-east of the city, but little else. Mr Hogarth explored part of an immense brick structure under the mound of Kom ed-Dik, which may have been part of the Paneum, the Mausolea or a Roman fortress. The making of the new foreshore led to the dredging up of remains of the Patriarchal Church; and the foundations of modern buildings are seldom laid without some objects of antiquity being discovered. The wealth underground is doubtless immense; but, despite all efforts, there is not much for antiquarians to see in Alexandria outside the museum and the neighbourhood of "Pompey's Pillar." The native tombrobbers, well-sinkers, dredgers and the like, however, come upon valuable objects from time to time, which find their way into private collections.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.-(I) Modern City. See latest editions of guidebooks to Lower Egypt (Baedeker, Murray, Macmillan). (2) History. See authorities for history of EGYPT. (3) Ancient City and Antiquities. Mahmud Bey el Fallaki, Mimoire sur l'antique Alexandrie (1872); T. D. Neroutsos, L'AncienneAlexandrie (1888); D.G. Hogarth and E. F. Benson, Report on Prospects of Research in Alexandria (Egypt Expl.Fund Archaeological Report, 1894-1895); Bulletin de la Societe Archiologique d'Alexandrie(1898 foll.); O. Puchstein in PaulyWissowa, Realencyclopadie, s.v. " Alexandria"; U. Wilcken, Observationes ad historiam Egypti Provinciae Romanae (1885); G. Lumbroso, L'Egitto al tempo dei Greci e dei Romani (1882); H. Kiepert, Zur Topographie des alten Alexandria (1872). (D. G. H.)


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