Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city, its largest seaport and the country's window onto the Mediterranean Sea. It's a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and still-palpable glimpses of its past. The most important sites to see in Alexandria are: • Qaitbay Citadel, Ras el-Tin: One of the icons of the city, the fortress overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the city itself. This citadel was 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 sea. It was erected on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria. • Mostafa Kamel Cemetery: The cemetery includes four tombs dating from the second century BC, which are in excellent condition and very well decorated. • Kom el-Shouqafa, Karmou: Kom el-Shouqafa is the Arabic translation of ancient Greek name, Lofus Kiramaikos, which means "mound of fragments" or "pots". • Pompey's Pillar, Karmouz: An ancient monument, this column of 25 meters of granite was built in honor of Emperor Diocletian in the year 297. The confined area where the column is, has also other ruins and sculptures as the oracle Serapium. • Roman Theatre, Kom El-Dikka: Built in the second century AD. In Ptolemaic times this area was the Park of Pan, a garden of pleasure surrounded by Roman villas and baths. • Montazah Palace: Built in 1892 by Abbas II of Egypt Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last Khedive of Egypt. One of the palace buildings, the Haramlek, now contains a casino on the ground floor and a museum of royal relics on the upper levels. • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mansheya: Egypt has a Tomb of this Unknown Soldier. • Presidential Palace, Montazah. • Alexandria National Museum: historical museum with more than 1,800 archaeological pieces. • Greco-Roman Museum: A history museum with a vast collection mostly dating from the 3rd century BC, spanning the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
If you happen to find yourself in Egypt and have one more day to spare, Alexandria in Egypt is worth a visit. t does have a great waterfront view, and is a refuge from the chaos of downtown Cairo.