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الإسكندرية (Arabic)


Nickname(s): Mediterranean's Bride, Pearl of the Mediterranean
Alexandria is located in Egypt
Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 31°12′N 29°55′E
Country  Egypt
Governorate Alexandria
Founded 331 BC
 • Governor Abdelrahman Hassan
 • Total 2,679 km2 (1,034 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 4,532,174
 • Density Bad rounding here1,700/km2 (Bad rounding here4,400/sq mi)
Time zone EST ( UTC+2)
Postal code 21500
Area code(s) (+20) 3
Website Official website
Residential neighbourhood in Alexandria

Alexandria (اسكندريه, pronounced  [eskendeˈrejjæ] in Egyptian Arabic)[see other names] is the second largest city in Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. It is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. Alexandria is Egypt's largest seaport, serving approximately 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. It is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort.

Alexandria was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It became an important centre of the Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Hellenistic and Roman & Byzantine Egypt for almost one thousand years until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world; now replaced by a modern one); and the Necropolis, 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, Alexandria became a major centre of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers 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.


  • Literary Arabic: الإسكندرية al-iskandariyya
  • Egyptian Arabic: اسكندريه [eskendeˈrejjæ]; also informally: أليكس Aleks [ˈʔæleks]
  • Coptic: Ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ Rakotə
  • Greek: Αλεξάνδρεια Alexándreia [aleˈksa(n)dɾia]
  • Koine Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια ἡ κατ' Αἴγυπτον [ɑlɛˈksɑndɾiɑ e kɑt ˈɛʝypton] "Alexandria in Egypt"
  • Italian: Alessandria
  • French: Alexandrie
  • Turkish: İskenderiye
  • Spanish: Alejandría


A35 t

Raqd.t (Alexandria)
in hieroglyphs
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 (Alexandria). 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 (Egyptian *Raˁ-Ḳāṭit, written rˁ-ḳṭy.t, 'That which is built up'). It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city. After Alexander's departure, 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, though it was eventually lost after being separated from its burial site there.

Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing 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 Egypt's main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds.

Alexandria was not only a centre of Hellenism, but was also home to the largest urban 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. 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.

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 besieged by the Ptolemies in 47 BC during Julius Caesar intervention in the civil war between king Ptolemy XIII and his advisers, and the fabled 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.

In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, 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), an event annually commemorated years later as a "day of horror." 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 of which became Christian churches. The Pharos and Heptastadium quarters, however, remained populous and were left intact.

Alexandria: bombardment by 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 during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, after a siege that lasted 14 months.

After the Battle of Ridaniya in 1517, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and remained under Ottoman rule until 1798.

Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798. French troops stormed the town 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 town, which fell to them on 2 September 1801. Mohammed Ali, the Ottoman Governor of Egypt, began rebuilding and redevelopment 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. On 26 October 1954, Alexandria's Mansheyya Square was the site of a failed assassination attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The most important battles and sieges of Alexandria include:

  • Siege of Alexandria (47 BC), Caesar's civil war
  • Battle of Alexandria (30 BC), Final war of the Roman Republic
  • Siege of Alexandria (619), Byzantine-Persian Wars
  • Siege of Alexandria (641), Rashidun conquest of Byzantine Egypt
  • Battle of Alexandria, French Revolutionary Wars
  • Siege of Alexandria (1801), French Revolutionary Wars
  • Alexandria expedition of 1807, French Revolutionary Wars
  • Battle of Alexandria (2012), Anti- Mursi uprising, headquarters held for much less than 1 day, independence from Egypt proclaimed


Alexandria is located in the country of,Egypt on the coast of the southern Mediterranean


Alexandria has an arid climate ( Köppen climate classification: BWh), but the prevailing north wind, blowing across the Mediterranean, gives the city a different climate from the desert hinterland. The city's climate shows Mediterranean (Csa) characteristics, namely mild, variably rainy winters and hot summers that, 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) and minimum temperatures that could reach 5 °C (41  °F). Alexandria experiences violent storms, rain and sometimes hail during the cooler months. July and August are the hottest and driest months of the year, with an average daily maximum temperature of 30 °C (86  °F). The average annual rainfall is around 200 millimeters (7.9 in) but has been as high as 417 millimeters (16.5 in)

Climate data for Alexandria
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29
Average high °C (°F) 18.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.4
Average low °C (°F) 9.1
Record low °C (°F) 2
Rainfall mm (inches) 52.8
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 mm) 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
Mean monthly sunshine hours 192.2 217.5 248.0 273.0 316.2 354.0 362.7 344.1 297.0 282.1 225.0 195.3 3,307.1
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN), Bing Weather for record temperatures, Hong Kong Observatory for data of sunshine hours and daily mean temperatures

Layout of the ancient city

Greek Alexandria was divided into three regions:

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;
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 Harbor, 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 Theatre, 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.

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 Great Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, reputed to be 138 meters (450 ft) high, was situated. The first Ptolemy began the project, and the second Ptolemy ( Ptolemy II Philadelphus) 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, after the Great Pyramid of Giza. A temple of Hephaestus also stood on Pharos at the head of the mole.

In the 1st century, the population of Alexandria contained over 180,000 adult male citizens (from a papyrus dated 32 AD), 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

Roman Pompey's Pillar

Due to the constant presence of war in Alexandria in ancient times, 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 in AD 365, and the rest has been built over in modern times.

" Pompey's Pillar", a Roman triumphal column, 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 (27 m) high made out of a single piece of granite. This would be 132 cubic meters or approximately 396 tons. 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 were not 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. 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. In more recent years, a lot of ancient artifacts have been discovered from the surrounding sea, mostly pieces of old pottery.

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. It has revealed the ancient city's well-preserved theatre, and the remains of its Roman-era baths.


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.Excavations were performed in the city by Greeks seeking Alexander the Great tomb without success. 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.

scale replica of the destroyed Alexandrine Pharos Lighthouse in Burj Al Arab, Alex

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. Cleopatra VII's royal quarters were inundated by earthquakes and tidal waves, leading to gradual subsidence in the 4th century AD. This underwater section, containing many of the most interesting sections of the Hellenistic city, including the palace quarter, was explored in 1992 and is still being extensively investigated by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team. It raised a noted head of Caesarion. These are being opened up to tourists, to some controversy. 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 Temple Of Taposiris Magna

View of Abusir Pharaohs from Temple Of Taposiris Magna
side view for The Temple Of Taposiris Magna

The temple was built in the Ptolemy era and finished the construction of Alexandria. The temple is located in Abusir, the western suburb of Alexandria in Burj Al Arab city. The temple was dedicated to Osiris. Only the outer wall and the pylons remain from the temple. There is evidence to prove that sacred animals were worshipped there. Archeologists found an animal necropolis near the temple. Remains of a Christian church show that the temple was used as a church in later centuries. Also found in the same area are remains of public baths built by the emperor Justinian, a seawall, quays and a bridge. Near the beach side of the area, we can see the remains of a tower built by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The tower was an exact scale replica of the destroyed Alexandrine Pharos Lighthouse.

Modern city


Beach at Marina

Modern Alexandria is divided into six districts:

  • al-Montaza District: population 1,190,287
  • Shark (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


Maamoura, Montaza, Mandara (Bahary - Qibly), Asafra (Bahary - Qibly), Miami, Sidi Bishr (Bahary - Qibly), Saray, Victoria, Seyouf, Laurent, Tharwat, San Stefano, Gianaclis, Schutz, Zezenia, Glim, Bacchus, Saba Pasha, Fleming, Dahria, Bolkly, Stanley, Rushdy, Mustafa Kamel, Kafr Abdu, Smouha, Nozha, Sidi Gaber, Cleopatra, Sporting, Ibrahimiyya, Camp Cezar, Al Shatby, Hadara (Bahary - Qibly - New), Azarita (Originally Lazarette), Muharram Bek, El Raml Downtown, Koum Al Dikka, Eastern Harbour, Anfoushi, Manshiyya, Attarin, Karmous, (aka Karmouz), Ras El Tin, Labban, Mina El Basal, Western Harbour, Qabbary, Wardian, El Max, Dekheila, Agami Al Bitaash (Originally "Beau Tache"), Agami Al Hanuviel (Originally "Hameaux Ville"), Amreya, King Mariout, Burg al-Arab

Stanley Beach


Place des Consuls"Midan Mohammed Ali"
  • (Ahmed) Orabi Square (Mansheya Square), in Downtown
  • Saad Zaghlul Square, in Downtown
  • Tahrir Square (formerly Mohammed Ali Square, originally Place des Consuls), in Downtown
  • Ahmed Zewail Square, near Wabour al-Mayah


  • Montaza Palace, in Montaza
  • Ras al-Tiin Palace, in Ras al-Tiin
  • Presidential Palace, in Maamoura
  • Palais d’Antoniadis, in Smoha


  • Montaza Royal Gardens
  • Antoniades Park
  • Shallalat Gardens
  • Alexandria Zoo
  • Green Plaza
  • Fantazy Land
  • Maamoura Beach, Alexandria
  • Marina Resort
Alexandria panorama.jpg


Places of worship in Alexandria

El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque
Latin Catholic church of Saint Catherine in Mansheya
Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue


The most famous mosque in Alexandria is El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque in Bahary. Other notable mosques in the city include Ali ibn Abi Talib mosque in Somouha, Bilal mosque, al-Gamaa al-Bahari in Mandara, Hatem mosque in Somouha, Hoda el-Islam mosque in Sidi Bishr, al-Mowasah mosque in Hadara, Sharq al-Madina mosque in Miami, al-Shohadaa mosque in Mostafa Kamel, Al Qa'ed Ibrahim Mosque, Yehia mosque in Zizinia, Sidi Gaber mosque in Sidi Gaber, and Sultan mosque.


After Rome, Alexandria was considered the major seat of Christianity in the world. The coptic Christians are a majority in this region of northern Egypt, among other places also in the north. 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 AD 451, 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 Takla Haymanot's 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,Taxiarchon, 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. Copts in Alexandria have become more endangered in 2011.


Alexandria's once-flourishing Jewish community declined rapidly following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, after which negative reactions towards Zionism among Egyptians led to Jewish residents in the city, and elsewhere in Egypt, being perceived as Zionist collaborators. Most Jewish residents of Egypt fled to the newly established State of Israel, France, Brazil, and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s. The community once numbered 50,000 but is now estimated at below 50. The most important synagogue in Alexandria is the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.

Egyptian Alexandria Jewish girls during Bat Mitzva.


Institution Sainte Jeanne-Antide
Lycée Al-Horreya, Alexandria

Colleges and universities

Alexandria has 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 notably its Faculty of Medicine & 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 high school, undergraduate level, and postgraduate students. It is considered the most reputable university in Egypt after the AUC American University in Cairo because of its worldwide recognition from (board of engineers at UK & ABET in US). Université Senghor is a private French university that focuses on the teaching of humanities, politics and international relations, 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.


Alexandria has a 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 (four different schools), École Gérard, École Saint Gabriel, École Saint-Vincent de Paul, École saint joseph, École 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 École Champollion. It is usually frequented by the children of French expatriates and diplomats in Alexandria.

English schools in Alexandria are becoming the most popular schools. The most important English language schools in the city include: Riada Language School (RLS) Also known as "Leadership Schools of Languages",Alexandria Language School(ALS), Future Language School(FLS), Future International Schools :(Future IGCSE, Future American School and future new German school), Alexandria American School, British School of Alexandria, Egyptian American School, Modern American School, Sidi Gaber Language Schools, Riada American school, Taymour English School (TES), Sacred Heart Girls' School (SHS), Schutz American School, Victoria College, El Manar Language School for Girls, 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 were nationalized during the era of Nasser, and are currently Egyptian public schools run by the Egyptian ministry of education.

There are only two German schools in Alexandria which are Deutsche Schule der Borromärinnen (DSB of Saint Charles Borromé) and Future Deutsche Schule.

The Montessori educational system was first introduced in Alexandria in 2009 at Alexandria Montessori.

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


Alexandria tram
Misr Station
Double decker bus
Alexandria harbour.


Alexandria is served by Alexandria International Airport and Borg al Arab Airport which is located about 25 km away from city centre.

From late 2011, Alexandria International will be closed to commercial operations for two years as it undergoes expansion, with all airlines operating out of Borg al Arab Airport from then onwards, where a brand new terminal was completed in February 2010.


  • 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)


Alexandria's intracity commuter rail system extends from Misr Station (Alexandria's primary intercity railway station) to Abu Qir, parallel to the tram line. The commuter line's locomotives operate on diesel, as opposed to the overhead-electric tram.

Alexandria plays host to two intercity railway stations: the aforementioned Misr Station (in the older Manshia district in the western part of the city) and Sidi Gaber Station (in the district of Sidi Gaber in the centre of the eastern expansion in which most Alexandrines reside), both of which also serve the commuter rail line. Intercity passenger service is operated by Egyptian National Railways.


An extensive tramway network was built in 1860 and is the oldest in Africa. The tram network begins at alraml district in the west and ends in the Victoria district in the east. Most of the vehicles are blue in colour. Some smaller vehicles colored in yellow have further routes beyond the two main endpoints. The trams are given one of four numbers: 1, 2, 5, and 6. All the four start at Alraml, but only two (1 and 2) reach Victoria. On the length of the track there are two converging and diverging points. The first starts at Bolkly (Isis) and ends at San Stefano. The other begins at Sporting the Major and ends at Mostafa Kamel. Route 5 starts at San Stefano and takes the inner route to Bolkly. Route 6 starts at Sidi Gaber El Sheikh in the outer route between Sporting and Mostatfa Kamel. Route 1 takes the inner route between San Stefano and Bolkly and the outer route between Sporting and Mostafa Kamel. Route 2 takes the route opposite to Route 1 in both these areas. The tram fares are 25 piastres (0.25 pounds) during most of the day, and 50 piastres (0.50 pounds) after midnight. Some trams (that date back the 30s) charge a pound. The Tram is considered the cheapest method of public transport.


Public buses are operated by Alexandria Governorate's Agency for Public Passenger Transport.

Modern air conditioned red double-decker buses run the length of the Courniche. Fare (any distance) is 3 L.E. ( Egyptian pound) (£0.33/0.39€/$0.52) (as of January 2011).

Taxis and minibuses

Taxis in Alexandria sport a yellow-and-black livery and are widely available. While Egyptian law requires all cabs to carry meters, these generally do not work and fares must be negotiated with the driver on either departure or arrival.

The minibus share taxi system, or mashrū` operates along well-known traffic arteries. The routes can be identified by both their endpoints and the route between them:

  • Corniche routes:
    • Mandara-Bahari
    • Mandara-Manshia
    • Assafra-Bahari
    • Assafra-Manshia
    • Al-Sa'aa-Manshia
  • Abu Qir routes
    • Mandara-El Mahata (i.e. Misr Station)
    • Abu Qir-El Mahata
    • Victoria-El Mahata
    • Mandara-Victoria
  • Interior routes
    • Cabo-Bahari
    • Manshia-El Awayid
    • Manshia-Al Mouqif Al Gadid (the New Bus Station)

The route is generally written in Arabic on the side of the vehicle, although some drivers change their route without changing the paint. Some drivers also drive only a segment of a route rather than the whole path; such drivers generally stop at a point known as a major hub of the transportation system (for example, Victoria) to allow riders to transfer to another car or to another mode of transport.

Fare is generally L.E. 1.25 to travel the whole route. Shorter trips may have a lower fare, depending on the driver and the length of the trip.


The port is divided into:

  • The Eastern Harbour
  • The Western Harbour



The Bibliotheca Alexandrina
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 BCE, 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.


  • Alexandria Opera House, where Classical Music, Arabic Music, Opera and Ballet are performed.


  • Alexandria Aquarium
The Alexandria National Museum
Graeco-Roman Museum
  • The Graeco-Roman Museum
  • Royal Jewelry Museum
  • The Museum of Fine Arts
  • The Cavafy Museum
  • The Alexandria National Museum was inaugurated 31 December 2003. It is located in a restored Italian style palace in Tariq Al-Horreya Street (former Rue Fouad), near the centre of the city. It contains about 1,800 artifacts that narrate the story of Alexandria and Egypt. Most of these pieces came from other Egyptian 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-iskandariyya (الإسكندرية) (noun) (in Literary Arabic): Refers to the city of "Alexandria", used in formal texts and speech. Its Egyptian Arabic equivalent is Eskendereyya (إسكندرية), though they have the same spelling when written in Arabic text, apart from the definitive article al-.
  • "Alex" (noun): Natives of metropolitan areas who have a certain knowledge of English and/or French refer to Alexandria as "Alex", especially informally.
  • Eskandarāni (إسكندرانى, pronounced  [eskɑndɑˈɾɑːni]): The adjectival form in Egyptian Arabic, meaning "from Alexandria" or "native Alexandrian" (masc.). The feminine form and the plural form are Eskandaraneyya (إسكندرانية, pronounced  [eskɑndɑɾɑˈnejjæ]). Its equivalent in Literary Arabic is iskandarī (إسكندرى) (masc.), or sakandarī (سكندرى) (masc.), sakandariyya (سكندرية) (fem.), plural iskandariyyūn / iskandariyyīn (إسكندريون ‎/ إسكندريين) or sakandariyyūn / sakandariyyīn (سكندريون ‎/ سكندريين), feminine plural is sakandariyyāt (سكندريات).


Alexandria Stadium

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 practiced on a lower scale. The Skateboarding culture in Egypt started in this city.

Alexandria has four stadiums:

  • Borg El Arab Stadium
  • Harras El-Hedoud Stadium
  • Alexandria Stadium
  • El-Krom Stadium

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

  • Alexandria Sporting Club - in " Sporting"
  • Alexandria Country club
  • El-Ittihad El-Iskandary Club
  • El-Olympi Club
  • Koroum Club
  • Haras El Hodood Club
  • Lagoon Resort Courts
  • Acacia Country Club
  • Smouha SC - in " Smouha"


Monument of the Unknown Navy Soldier

Two writers loom large over the modern literature of Alexandria: C.P. Cavafy, the Alexandria-born Greek poet, and the Indian-born Briton Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet. Cavafy incorporated Greek history and mythology and his homosexuality into his poetry. Durrell used the cosmopolitan city as a landscape to explore human desires. Of Arabic novels set in Alexandria, Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar is the best known. In the 2000s, writers such as Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Ki Longfellow, and Keith Miller have used Alexandria as a setting for speculative fiction.

  • Novels
    • Unreal City (1952) by Robert Liddell.
    • Academic Year (1955, set in late 1940s) by D.J. Enright.
    • The Alexandria Quartet (1957–60, set in 1930s) by Lawrence Durrell.
    • The Alexandria Rhapsody (2011) by George Leonardos
    • The Bat (part of the Drifting Cities trilogy) (1965, set in 1943-44) by Stratis Tsirkas.
    • Miramar (1967) by Naguib Mahfouz.
    • The Danger Tree (1977, set in 1942, partly in Alexandria) by Olivia Manning.
    • The Beacon at Alexandria (1986, set in 4th century) by Gillian Bradshaw.
    • No Digas Que Fue Un Sueño (Don't Say It Was A Dream) (1986, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony) by Terenci Moix.
    • City of Saffron (tr. 1989, set in 1930s) by Edwar Al-Kharrat.
    • Girls of Alexandria (tr. 1993, set in 1930s and '40s) by Edwar Al-Kharrat.
    • The Alexandria Semaphore (1994) by Robert Solé.
    • The House over the Catacombs (1993) and the Song of the Soul (1997) by George Leonardos.
    • No One Sleeps in Alexandria (1996, set during World War II) by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid.
    • Pashazade (2001) alternate history by Jon Courtenay Grimwood.
    • The Alexander Cipher (2007) by Will Adams.
    • Flow Down Like Silver, Hypatia of Alexandria (2009) by Ki Longfellow.
    • The Book on Fire (2009, urban fantasy) by Keith Miller.
    • Alexandria (2009, historical crime, set in AD77) by Lindsey Davis.
    • "La lente découverte de l'étrangeté" (novel), 2002, by Victor Teboul.
  • 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; fictionalised description of family history in Alexandria) by André Aciman.
    • Farewell to Alexandria (tr. 2004) Harry E. Tzalas.
  • Game
    • Final Fantasy IX (PSX) Alexandria is a major city-state in this game.


  • Songs in French:
    • Alexandrie by Georges Moustaki.
    • Alexandrie, Alexandra by Claude François.
  • Songs in Greek:
    • Alexandria by Yannis Kotsiras.
  • Songs in Arabic:
    • Shat Eskendereya by Fairouz.
    • been shateen we maya by Mohamed Kandil.
    • Ahsan Nas by Dalida.
    • Leil Eskendereya by Moustafa Amar.
    • Ya Wad Ya Eskandarany by Moustafa Amar.
    • Ya Eskendereya by Mohamed Mounir (lyrics by Ahmed Fouad Negm).
    • Ayouh by Natasha
  • Songs in English:
    • Alexandria by Kamelot
    • Alexandra Leaving by Leonard Cohen, based on a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy.
  • Songs in other languages:
    • Ya Mustafa reproduced Dario Moreno, Bob Azzam and many others - lyrics in Arabic, French and Italian


Alexandria is a main summer resort and tourist attraction, due to its public and private beaches and ancient history and Museums, especially the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, based on reviving the ancient Library of Alexandria.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Alexandria is twinned with:

  • Slovakia Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Ukraine Odessa, Ukraine
  • United States Cleveland, United States
  • Romania Constanţa, Romania
  • China Shanghai, China
  • India Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • United States Baltimore, United States
  • Malaysia Kuching, Malaysia
  • Turkey Izmir, Turkey since 1996
  • Morocco Casablanca, Morocco
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