The “Bride” of the Mediterranean Sea – Alexandria
During the times of “open” Egypt, Alexandria was not popular among the mass Russian tourists, mainly from the resorts of the Red Sea they came there on individual excursions for one or several days. With the opening of regular flights to Cairo, given the relatively short distance of 220 km from the capital, you can take a chance and consider this Mediterranean city with a special atmosphere as an independent destination. You can get to it from the capital in three hours, if the trip is organized independently, the fare for the bus will be only $ 3. Alexandria is stretched along the coastline of the sea, and from it it sprawls deep into thousands of streets with many cafes, restaurants, shops, residential buildings, hotels from luxurious to very affordable prices.
An ancient city with a rich past will certainly be interesting to history buffs. One of these charming places is El Montazah Park. Translated from Arabic, the name literally means “park”, but it has a deeper meaning and implies a carefree, calm walk. The lush gardens and magnificent palaces in which the royal family, together with their distinguished guests, spent a sunny summer in the Mediterranean, are open to visitors for a small fee of about $ 3. Salamlek Palace, the eldest of the two palaces of Muntaza, was built in 1892 and functioned exclusively as a hunting lodge during the royal dynasty. Today it is a fashionable hotel. The second Haramlik Palace was built in 1932 as a summer residence with a unique design, a mixture of Turkish and Florentine styles. Currently, it houses a casino, as well as a museum with works of art. The park area is 60 hectares, and despite the huge size, the gardens are maintained in excellent condition. The proximity to the beach, the cool breeze from the sea, flowering plantations, the opportunity to spend a nice relaxing day attract not only tourists, but also many locals.
On the opposite side of the city from Montaz Park in the eastern harbor is the ancient 15th-century fortress Kite Bay. The fort was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century, as the previous fortress was badly damaged by the British bombing in 1882. The most interesting thing is that it was on this very spot where the famous Alexandria lighthouse once stood – one of the ancient wonders of the world that was destroyed during an earthquake. And during the construction of Kite Bay just used the existing foundation. The fortress has long abandoned any military functions, and today it houses a small naval museum. You just have to go inside to feel the power and structure of the building. The peninsula leading to the fort is usually crowded, popular with fishermen, you can enjoy captivating views of the city and the sea.
Of course, Alexandria is known for the existence of the largest ancient library. The destruction of this huge book depository, which was part of an ancient cultural center, remains a mystery and a subject of controversy for many scientists. But recently, Egypt decided to restore the spirit of its rich heritage and revive the library. In 2003, a new building was opened for visitors in the form of a massive disk, inclined to the Mediterranean Sea, which embodies the image of the Egyptian sun illuminating the world. The library does not currently aim to collect all the written sources of the world under one roof, but creates separate collections on topics, attracts researchers from different countries, and is a platform for dialogue and the development of tolerance. A planetarium, a museum dedicated to the history of science, an exhibition of artists are held here. It will take about an hour to inspect the main reading room and the exhibits displayed in it. It is worth paying attention that children under six are not allowed to visit.
A significant role in the design of the city and the beach line of Alexandria belongs to the Stanley Bridge. This is the first construction of its kind in Egypt, built over the sea, is 400 meters long and 30 meters wide, has four towers, designed in a style reminiscent of the palaces of Montaz. The nearby narrow two-way street could not cope with very intense traffic, and the appearance of the bridge increased the area and allowed to significantly streamline the passage of cars. There are many restaurants in the area with kitchens for every taste and stunning views of the bridge across the Mediterranean Sea.
The El Raml area will offer tourists entertainment and a huge selection of souvenirs. Here is the main station of the city’s tram tracks, nearby the Alexandria Opera House, the center of creativity of Alexandria. Along the streets there is active trade, each with its own specific specialization of goods. Another tourist area, which is the oldest part of the city, the administrative and business center – Mancheya. The headquarters of the Alexandria Province, the Court of Appeal, the office of the Egyptian Exchange, and around the green park are located on Consul Square. Bahari is also adjacent to old Alexandria, a place favored by fishermen.