Alexandria": The ancient capital, the bride of the Mediterranean
Alexandria": The ancient capital, the bride of the Mediterranean
April 12, 2022 - 20:51Updated: April 15, 2022 - 17:0807
Here is Alexandria, the cradle of culture and the land of history, where tales of love and legends reside, its sands are filled with antiquities and the footsteps of heroes, and its sea is inhabited by sunken treasures.
It is one of the largest cities in Egypt, and its main port and industrial center, as it is classified as one of the largest cities in Egypt in terms of area and population after Cairo, and is the second capital of Egypt. It was its main capital historically since its founding by Alexander the Great, its builder, who owned half of the world, but chose to be buried in the arms of his beloved, so it embraced him, and concealed the secret of his burial place, apparently forever, and was named after him.
It is located on the Mediterranean Sea at the western end of the Nile Delta, about 183 km northwest of Cairo, and is characterized by the presence of many landmarks that make it desirable for tourism, in addition to the largest seaports in the country, such as the port of Alexandria and the port of Dekheila. Therefore it is an important economic center for maritime operations, maritime trade and craft production.
The Greek era
The city of Alexandria did not exist in its current form since ancient times, as it was described by the scholars of the French campaign in their huge writings “Encyclopedia of Description of Egypt”. It was a small village called “Ractus” or “Rakouda” during the Persian rule, and Alexander the Great had to gain control over Egypt in order to defeat the Persians because it has always been the main key to control that part of the world, so Alexander entered Egypt and the Egyptians loved him and crowned him as a pharaoh and nicknamed him the son of Amun. When he was passing through that small village, he liked the place, so he decided to build a city bearing his name there to be the link between Athens and Egypt and become the capital of Egypt. He gave the honor of building it to the engineer Dinocrates, who coordinated it in the same style of the Greek cities in an organized manner and horizontal and vertical streets. He covered part of the sea and linked an island called Pharos with the village to expand the construction and the port of Alexandria became very wide, with a length of approximately 70 km.
Alexandria was a military city at the beginning of its inception and then became the capital of the rule of the Ptolemies after the division of the Greek Empire after the death of Alexander, their headquarters, and famous for its gardens and luxurious marble streets, so they built the Library of Alexandria, which is considered the first research institute in the ancient world because it contained the most important 700 thousand volumes in various scientific and philosophical fields At that time. It was not only a library, but like a university in our time, a place for scientific lectures and seminars, in every corner of which, you find students of knowledge in its courtyards.
They also built the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World due to its huge length and high light that illuminated the sea for sailors and guided them to the port at the time.
Alexandria flourished during the Ptolemaic era. Only a century after its founding, it became one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean, and a center of Greek sciences and scholarships. The Ptolemies mixed the religions of Greece and ancient Egypt, and benefited from Rome's growing trade with the East via the Nile and the canal that linked it to the Red Sea. In addition, Alexandria had inhabitants of various groups of people. It was home to a Jewish colony and a major center of their education.
The Roman and Byzantine Era
After the death of Alexander, Cleopatra, the daughter of Ptolemy XII, ruled the city with her brother, and after years she was forced to leave and fled from his army, but she returned years later to restore the rule. She met the Roman Caesar who helped her restore her rule for several years, but soon he was killed and Mark Antony took power after him, who had a battle between him and Caesar’s nephew Octavius, in which he was killed. Cleopatra dies after mysterious circumstances, and Alexandria and Egypt then officially come under the Roman rule. By the end of the fourth century, the Christian establishment in Alexandria had mobilized an army to confront the remnants of paganism, and they destroyed the Temple of Serapis, and other violent clashes erupted between the rival gangs and the factions stationed in the city at that time. Afterwards, the council dismissed Dioscor, the Alexandrian pope, and feelings of indignation overwhelmed the people towards the Byzantine destruction, the circumstances in which Alexandria fell under the rule of the Persians at the beginning of the year 616, and then to the Arabs in 642.
The Islamic era
Although Alexandria succumbed to Arab-Islamic expansion without resistance, this conquest was followed by a large exodus of the leading elements of the Greek population. The new Arab capital covered the city of Alexandria, and continued to flourish as a trading center, mainly for textiles and luxury goods, and was also an important naval base. Especially under the Fatimids and Mamluks.
But the final loss of this trade was after Portugal discovered a sea route to India in 1498, which caused a severe blow to the wealth of the city and the state of the Mamluks, and the status of Egypt turned into a province within an empire that fell to the Ottomans. At the time, Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, Turning Alexandria into a small Ottoman port.
Evolution of the modern city
During the French campaign on Egypt led by Napoleon Bonaparte, the English and the Russians sided with the Ottomans to expel the French from Egypt, which led to the defeat of the French and the entry of Egypt into the stage of Renaissance after Muhammad Ali Pasha took power in 1805, where he built the Mahmoudiya canal and the arsenal of warships. During his reign, Alexandria became an increasingly important banking and commercial center. It had a European character that attracted foreign merchants to deal with it, until it was subjected to British bombardment, surrendered and officially became under the British rule, which lasted for many years. The city of Alexandria suffered especially in the Second World War.
After World War II, the monarchy in Egypt, which was in the era of King Farouk, was abolished. The Egyptian Republic was established by Gamal Abdel Nasser and a group of free officers, who carried out huge reforms such as agrarian reform and the nationalization of the Suez Canal, in addition to saving Egypt from desertification, and transferring it to a fertile world by building the High Dam, and solving the problem of the Nile flood, to make Egypt regain its strength and become one of the greatly expanded civilizational countries.
The most important landmarks of the city of Alexandria:
Library of Alexandria
Alexandria National Museum
Lighthouse of Alexandria