From my hotel room I overlook the seawall and the walking area along the Med in Alexandria.
It is called ‘The Corniche’, though it does not fit the dictionary definition. It is a harbour; there is no steepness to the land side, only the city buildings are high.
The seawall is lined with people – groups of people about 10 or 15 feet apart. There are lovers, friends, families, children- all sorts and types of groups of people space every 15 feet along the length of the entire visible seawall which winds around the harbor of Alexandria. The seawall and the walkway curves several miles to the east and several miles to the west.
There’s a constant cacophony of horn honking and in any single second you will you will hear five or six car horns. And then you hear a horse whinny. And then the evening call to prayers. But you always hear horns, many types, tones, and duration. Short honks mean ‘I am here’ and a long horn means ‘Get moving.’ All the cars seem to be driving safely, respectively, (unlike Cairo and Luxor) and there is not anyone screaming and hollering- just honking their horn to get someones attention or tell them ‘Look out because here I come.’
After checking in, I chose to not go out tonight with Moro, Kevin, Linda, Matthew and two of Moro’s sisters, their husbands and their children and two additional friends, their wives and their children. In total there about 20 people here in Alexandria that Moro invited. It is an army!! He has a wonderful extended family and they spend lots of time together.
I wanted my solo time. I need it like sleep. I am a solo traveler. A chance to sit, write, listen, look, blog, email, plan Morocco, read about Alexandria. I needed time alone in Alexandria rather than along with the group tonight.
I really had a wonderful time last night at tomorrow’s home. We had a great dinner, about 20 of us. With 6 sisters (one in the US) and a brother, he has a large family network, as do most Egyptians. A giant contrast to me.
We had a great lunch today when we arrived in Alexandria – all types of fondu – some with pastrami or seafood or beef sausage, fresh vegies, olives, bread. It was a hoot, with all of us sitting together, reaching, dipping, laughing, talking, taking pics, enjoying. Men, women, teens, little children and 1 older solo traveling man.
My room is on the third floor and I can see most of the harbor of Alexandria from the balcony. There is a piano bar downstairs from 7-10, and I will be there shortly.
We leave Alex tomorrow and I will return to my room in downtown Cairo. A great place, on the 12th floor with access to the rooftop on the 13th floor. It is a very safe place since because it so so well isolated. It is 5 blocks from Tahrir Square and 8 blocks from the Egyptian Musuem, which I may revisit. The room includes breakfast; the owner has 2 dogs, pets, not like most dogs in Egypt which are treated like chickens. Most dogs are not pets.
All is good; I am having a wonderful time. Moro is the most hospitable man. The world would be a better place with more Moro’s.
Will rise early, walk along the seawall several miles in the early morning, the meet up with the troop and go to the Alexandria Library (the lighthouse that was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world is gone) and some Roman ruins. Alex has a very, very rich history and I plan on reading more about it tonight.
Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια (Alexandria). Alexander’s chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley.
Alexandria was the intellectual and cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks, Jews and Syrians. The city was later plundered and lost its significance.
Just east of Alexandria (where Abu Qir Bay is now), there was in ancient times marshland and several islands. As early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was recently rediscovered under water.
An Egyptian city, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore also, and later gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language (Egyptian *Raˁ-Ḳāṭit, written rˁ-ḳṭy.t, ‘That which is built up’). It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city. After Alexander’s departure, his viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the expansion. Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy succeeded in bringing Alexander’s body to Alexandria, though it was eventually lost after being separated from its burial site there.
Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing Alexandria’s continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been primarily Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became Egypt’s main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds.
Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was also home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world. The Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic center of learning (Library of Alexandria), but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population’s three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian.
In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami (365 Crete earthquake), an event annually commemorated years later as a “day of horror.”