Alexandria, Egypt, Citadel of Qaitbay
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Citadel of Qaitbay iStock.com / jayanata
Alexandria, Egypt, Beach
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Sandy Beach iStock.com / EgyptianStudio
Alexandria, Egypt, Montaza Palace
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Montazah Gardens and Palace iStock.com / EgyptianStudio
Alexandria, Egypt, Bibliotheca Alexandrina
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Bibliotheca Alexandrina iStock.com / VitalyEdush
Alexandria, Egypt, Abu el-Abbas el-Mursi Mosque
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Abu el-Abbas el-Mursi Mosque iStock.com / Baloncici
Alexandria, Egypt, Coffee
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Egyptian Coffee Service iStock.com / arda savaşcıoğulları
Alexandria, Egypt, Roman Amphitheatre
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Roman Amphitheater iStock.com / Danieloncarevic
Alexandria, Egypt, Alexandria Center of Arts
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Alexandria Center of Arts iStock.com / efesenko

Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt, Sphinx and Pompey's Pillar Sphinx iStock.com / littlewormy

Alexandria, once one of the greatest cities in the world with an international population engaged in trading and commerce, was greatly affected by the upheavals in Egypt in recent years. Although it's the country's largest port, few cruise ships stop here. However, there is plenty to see and do in the city, and Cairo is three hours by road across the Nile Delta and just two hours by train.

What We Love

Remembering What It Was: Alexandria recalls so much ancient history and thrived until Nasser nationalized the industries and disallowed foreigners from ownership or operation, sending a key part of the population into exile. It’s of interest to see where the great lighthouse and legendary library were located and how profoundly Alexandria is remembered.

Bibiotheca Alexandrina: The distinctive modern library, with its building sloping down to the sea, is an important research center, while the ancient Egyptian collections and changing pubic exhibitions will be of interest to travelers who want to learn more about the city.

Best Known For

World Wonder: The Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood at the harbor entrance. Today, that spot is occupied by the 15th-century Citadel of Qaitbay. The fort is now a naval museum.

Montazah Palace: Built in 1892 for Abbas II, the last khedive (viceroy) of Egypt, the palace now functions as a museum, casino, and hotel, while the lovely gardens are well looked after, welcoming, and close to the beaches.

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Who It's Best For

History Buffs: The long story of Alexandria’s rise under the Greeks and the intervening foreign influences are powerful reminders of how a city that was once on top of the world can also fall precipitously into a rather ordinary place, yet retain hints of past vibrancy and richness.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Watch Out for Touts: Expect to be badgered by beggars and others trying to sell you something.

Theodore W. Scull

Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.

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Itineraries Including Alexandria, Egypt
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