After a perfect beach getaway, it was on to Alexandria for part 3 of my custom tour with Ray of Egypt! Alexander the great founded Egypt’s second largest city in 332 BC. You can get from Cairo to Alexandria in around 3 hours driving. The cities are also connected by train, but tourists are sometimes prohibited from riding for safety reasons. Make sure to check the situation out before you book!
Traffic in Alexandria was absolutely insane while I was there. There’s an old-fashioned trolley in the city that regularly causes all sorts of mayhem and backups. While I was there, I experienced everything from a wedding procession blocking the streets to an outdoor market overtaking the roads. Thankfully, there was plenty to see from the window! Here are a few of my favorite roadside sites:
The first site I saw was the Citadel of Qaitbay, which sits on the site of the old Lighthouse of Alexandria. In 1477 Sultan Al-Ashraf established the citadel to guard the city from invaders. The citadel is currently empty so I didn’t go inside (you have to pay to enter). Definitely worth a picture though!
The bay is home to a lot of adorable robber cats, who wait for fishermen to catch them fish to steal. This adorable feline absolutely stole my heart <3
Next, I headed to Pompey’s Pillar. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the Roman general Pompey. It was built for the emperor Diocletian and marked the site of historic Alexandria’s acropolis, the Serapeum. In 391 AD, Egyptian Christians burned the majestic temple complex to the ground. All that remain are the single pillar and the tunnels beneath.
After that, I visited one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen: the Catacombs of Kom El-Shouqafa. Unfortunately, they confiscate cameras at the entrance so I don’t have any pictures to show you. The ptolemaic paintings, carvings, and tombs within absolutely defy description (so you should take a visit yourself!)
Next stop: Joining my group tour with Timeless Tours! 🙂