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Last updated : Nov 2009
Alexandria - TravelPuppy.com

The Northern Coast is dominated by Alexandria, conquered and designed by Alexander the Great. More Mediterranean than Arabic, it was always considered affluent and liberal, and attracts wealthy Cairenes as a summer retreat. Egypt’s second city is less chaotic than Cairo, and famed for its numerous Hellenistic and Roman relics from the age when it was the cultural capital of Europe.

The newly constructed Bibliotheka Alexandria, costing over US$300m, is the greatest library in the ancient world and a major research centre for many scholars. Relics from the 3rd century BC are exhibited in the Graeco-Roman Museum, and there is a recently excavated Roman Amphitheatre.

Fort Qait Bey is a 15th century fort built on the foundations of the Pharos Lighthouse, 1 of the Seven Wonders of the World. The modern Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Mursi overshadows the main square on Sharia Tatwig, whilst further places of interest include the Museum of Fine Arts, and Montazah Palace. Montazah Palace offers beautiful gardens and is regularly the summer host for theatre performances.

Diving and swimming are very popular, however beaches can get overcrowded during the summer. Beaches further out of the city include Hannovile and Agami, which are not so busy and cleaner. For a more Westernised and liberal approach, Ma’amoura beach is also popular.

Beyond Alexandria

The ancient city of Rosetta is 65 kilometres (39 miles) away from Alexandria, and is renowned for being where the Rosetta Stone was discovered ( housed now in the British Museum) and has a striking Ottoman, ‘Delta Style’ architecture.

El Alamein is a simple and interesting day trip, located 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Alexandria. There is a cemetery, war museum and memorial in remembrance to the soldiers who died during the battle of the decisive allied victory that determined the fate of Britain and Egypt's Empire.

Further west is the coastal resort of Mersa Matrouh, which has a nice beach, although it can be overcrowded during the summer.