Alexandria is also called the “Bride of the Mediterranean” because of its splendour. This city of millions is especially known for its many historical sites. An Egypt visa allows you to stay in Egypt for a maximum of 30 days, so it is wise to think about how you want to spend your time in Alexandria before you leave.
Alexandria: The city of kings
Alexandria is named after Alexander the Great, the legendary Macedonian king who established one of the greatest empires in history. Upon arriving in Egypt, Alexander decided that this would be the location for a great Greek city, or polis. This city would be the centre of Hellenistic culture in the region. Although Alexander gave his name to the city, he never returned there after his departure.
After the death of Alexander the Great, the city continued to grow and in time it even became the largest city in the world. Only ancient Rome could equal Alexandria’s influence and prestige. In 619 Alexandria was conquered by the Islamic Sassanians and after the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in 641, the Islamic culture would come to dominate the country.
Sights in Alexandria
Alexandria is a huge city with a population of over five million. It is the largest city on the Mediterranean, the fourth-largest city in the Arab world and the ninth-largest urban area in all of Africa. Not surprisingly, there is plenty to do for visitors. However, since the Egypt visa is valid for 30 days, it is wise to decide beforehand exactly what you want to do during your trip. Below, some of the most impressive sights in Alexandria are described.
Alexandria once possessed one of the largest and most respected libraries in the world: the Royal Library of Alexandria. For a long time, the library was the centre of Western scholarship in antiquity. Over the centuries, however, the building fell into disrepair, due to wars and fires among other things. Eventually, the library was completely destroyed.
To give visitors an impression of what the Royal Library looked like, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was founded. The building is immediately recognisable because of its shape: it sits on the waterfront and has a disc-shaped roof. This shape symbolises the sun rising over the Mediterranean. Partly thanks to international donations, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has a large collection of rare works from Arab history that cannot be found anywhere else. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is open to everyone and a ticket costs about £3,25.
The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa are one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the history of Egypt. The catacombs were discovered by accident; a donkey fell through a hole in the ground in 1900, which brought the ancient tombs to light. A spiral staircase leads to the tombs, which are amazingly large and consist of several corridors and rooms. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa are a wonderful example of the convergence of ancient Egyptian, Hellenistic and Roman funerary culture.
The Park and Gardens of Montaza
Although the Montaza Palace is an impressive building, it is mainly known for the beautiful park (the former gardens) that lie behind it. After visiting the tombs and museums Alexandria is known for, the gardens offer a welcome change. The gardens are full of palm trees and beautifully coloured plants and flowers. At the end of the park is a small beach with a bridge leading to a picturesque island. Montaza is the perfect place to take a break and then continue exploring the city.
The Souq of Alexandria
The opposite of the calm gardens of Montaza is the souq of Alexandria, or market of Alexandria. The souq has something for everyone, from fruit and vegetables to meat and fish, and from bakeries to cafés and clothes shops. It is always busy at the market, but for many, this is the attraction of the souq. It is the perfect place to see the locals in their daily lives, and most tourists do not visit the souk to buy things, but to experience the authentic Egyptian life of everyday life.
Diving in Alexandria
The most impressive buildings from Alexandria’s history are not to be found on land, but underwater. Alexandria is an excellent diving location and especially popular because of the remains of historical buildings that can be found at the bottom of the sea. The most popular of these is the palace said to be Cleopatra’s Palace, which was built by Alexander the Great and inhabited by the legendary Queen Cleopatra before later collapsing into the sea. Another popular underwater ruin is the Pharos of Alexandria (the lighthouse), one of the seven classical wonders of the world.
Holiday in Alexandria? Remember your visa
That Alexandria has a lot to offer is beyond doubt. In addition to choosing which sights to visit, it is important to apply for the correct travel authorisation. For a trip to Egypt, this means applying for the online Egypt visa. The visa can be applied for by means of a digital application form and is valid for 90 days. However, this does not mean that you can stay in the country for 90 days. The maximum stay with this visa is 30 days each time you arrive in Egypt. The single-entry visa allows you to arrive in Egypt once. For each future visit, a new visa must be applied for.
However, for an additional fee you can apply for a multiple-entry Egypt visa. This visa allows you to travel to Egypt an unlimited number of times during the 90-day validity period. Even with a multiple-entry visa, each stay in Egypt may only last up to 30 days.