The “Bride” of the Mediterranean – Alexandria
At the time of “open” Egypt, Alexandria was not popular with the mass Russian tourist, 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 risk and consider as an independent direction this Mediterranean city with a special atmosphere. You can reach it from the capital in three hours, if the trip is organized independently, the cost of travel by bus is only $ 3. Alexandria is stretched along the coastline of the sea, and from there it spreads into thousands of streets with many cafes, restaurants, shops, houses, hotels from luxurious to very affordable prices.
The oldest city with a rich past will certainly be interesting to history lovers. One of these fascinating places is El Montaz Park. Translated from Arabic, the name itself literally means “park”, but it has a deeper meaning and implies a carefree, relaxing walk. Lush gardens and delightful palaces, in which the royal family together with their distinguished guests spent their sunny summer in the Mediterranean, are open to the public for a small fee of about $ 3. Salamelek Palace, the eldest of the two palaces of Muntaz, was built in 1892 and functioned exclusively as a hunting lodge during the royal dynasty. Today it is a fashionable hotel. The second palace Haramlik 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 of 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 pleasant quiet day attract not only tourists, but also many locals.
On the opposite side of the city from the Montaz Park in the eastern harbor is the ancient fortress of the 15th century, Kite Bay. The fort was rebuilt in the early 20th century, as the previous fortress was badly damaged by the British bombardment in 1882. The most interesting thing is that it was on this very spot that the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria once stood – one of the ancient wonders of the world, which was destroyed during an earthquake. And when building Kite Bay just used the already existing foundation. The fortress has long abandoned any military functions, and today it houses a small naval museum. You just have to go there inside to feel the power and structure of the building. The peninsula leading to the fort, as a rule, is crowded with a crowd, is popular with fishermen, here 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 the ancient cultural center, remains a mystery and the subject of controversy of many scientists. But recently, Egypt decided to restore the spirit of the richest heritage and revive the library. In 2003, a new building was opened to the public in the form of a massive disk inclined towards the Mediterranean, which personifies the image of the Egyptian sun illuminating the world. The library currently does not aim to collect all the written sources of the world under one roof, but creates separate collections on topics, attracts researchers from different countries, is a platform for dialogue and the development of tolerance. There is a planetarium, a museum dedicated to the history of science, exhibitions of artists are held. It will take about an hour to inspect the main reading room and the exhibits on display. 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 this kind in Egypt, built over the sea, is 400 meters long and 30 meters wide, has four towers, designed in a style reminiscent of Montaz palaces. The nearby narrow two-way street could not cope with very heavy traffic, and the appearance of the bridge increased the area and made it possible to significantly streamline the passage of cars. In the area there are many restaurants with cuisines for every taste and stunning views of the bridge over the Mediterranean Sea.
The area of El Raml will offer tourists entertainment and a huge selection of souvenirs. Here is the main tram station of the city, near the Alexandria Opera House, the center of creativity of Alexandria. There is an active trade along the streets, each with its own specific product specialization. Another tourist area, which is the oldest part of the city, is the administrative and business center – Manshea.