My first stop in Egypt was Alexandria, a very special place for us Greeks since it was established by Alexander the Great at the peak of his glory.
Alexander literally envisioned a new capital for his Empire on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea and indeed managed to set the foundations for a city that served as a cultural hub and a center of knowledge over the years.
Nowadays, Alexandria has undergone a total face-lift compared to those ancient times. And what more, is lacking two of its most important and iconic landmarks; the Lighthouse (Pharos) and the Ancient Library of Alexandria that have been lost in time.
The Pharos of Alexandria was the next tallest man-made structure in the world after the Great Pyramid of Giza, and as such it has been listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Severely damaged by continuous earthquakes, Pharos was eventually left in ruins.
Part of its remains was used for building the Qait Bey Fort, which now stands on the original site of the Old Lighthouse, while another part still lays underwater…
Kom El-Dikka (Roman Amphitheater)
In the heart of modern Alexandria lie the remains of a once well-off residential area that back in the Greek-Roman times was bustling with life.
The broader complex that is today known as Kom el-Dikka, was the most favorite place for the citizens of Alexandria to socialize and indulge in various activities.
Apart from the domestic quarter, where the most beautiful palatial looking villas of Alexandria were located, excavations also brought in light a Roman Auditorium, public baths, cisterns, as well as a Roman Amphitheater (the only one actually found in the entire Egypt to-date).
What’s amazing is that the Roman Amphitheatre was discovered by chance when back in the year 1960 a construction of some governmental buildings was ordered in that specific area. While the workers were digging on the ground, they came across some columns that indicated that something was buried underneath!
Constantine Cavafy’s Museum
No trip to Alexandria is complete without paying a visit to the apartment of Constantine Cavafy’s. Constantine Cavafy was one of the most distinguished Greek poets who was born and lived most of his life in Alexandria.
One of his most distinctive poems, Ithaka, is serving as an anthem to all unrepentant travelers to-date.
Cavafy’s apartment has been converted into a museum, with his original manuscripts, portraits and sketches in display.
When you set out on the way to Ithaca
wish for a long, eventful journey,
full of adventure, full of understanding…