Alexandria was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, founded by Alexander the Great. However, due to the uneven preservation and excavation of its monuments, it is also one of the most untouched. Egypt’s largest seaport was once a glorious cosmopolitan city, but now, a shadow of what it once was due to nationalism in the 1950s.
The Style of Alexandrian Architecture
Some say that it was the centre of architectural innovation with a wide variety of architectural and decorative innovations. This lead to the creation of an Alexandrian style, starting with the colossal Pharos Lighthouse – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which spread throughout the Mediterranean and affected the development of the monumental architecture for over a millennium.
Rome in Alexandrian Architecture
Many fragments of the city, through mosaic, ancient paintings and ruins, help to reconstruct the architectural beauties of these lost monuments, giving a sense of the city’s former architectural grandeur. Roman Theatre, Built in the 2nd century AD, this Roman amphitheatre has 13 semicircular tiers made of white and grey marble, with marble seats for up to 800 spectators, galleries and sections of mosaic-flooring.
Citadel of Qaitbay, One of the icons of the city at a beautiful location, the fortress overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the city itself, built in 1480 by Sultan Qaitbay on the site of the Pharos Lighthouse, to protect the city from the crusaders who used to attack the city by the sea. It was erected on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria. Now it’s a Maritime Museum.
That being said, today, architecture in Alexandria is not only a city full of ruins, it also holds a stunning modern library in tribute to being one of the first cities in the world to have a university. It is also trying to revive itself and become the cultural hub of Egypt. Compared to the rest of Egypt, this city showcases a calmer way of life with its harbour, eloquent Greek architecture and historical coffee shops.
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Buildings in Alexandria
Citadel of Alexandria
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