Duration: 12 1/2 hours
Tour Code: POS-005
This full day tour allows you to venture into the fascinating city of Alexandria, located on the north coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Boarding your comfortable coach at the pier, you'll travel approximately 3 hours along a scenic route to Egypt's second largest city. Commonly referred to as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean," Alexandria's distinctively Mediterranean ambience truly sets it apart from other Egyptian cities. Once the center of learning in the ancient world, today it is a thriving cosmopolitan city and commercial center.
Your first stop is at the ancient Catacombs which are found near the Port of Alexandria. These amazing catacombs consist of three tiers of burial chambers dating from the 2nd century B.C. that have been carved into the rock 100 feet below ground. A winding staircase descends to the chambers of the first floor and sculptures and reliefs of Egyptian gods can be seen; however, they look distinctly Romanesque. In fact, one statue of Anubis is even wearing Roman armor.
Proceeding on, you'll make your way to the Alexandria Library. The Library was first commissioned in 295 B.C. by the Egyptian ruler, Ptolemy I Soter and was one of the cultural wonders of the ancient world. Representatives of Ptolemy traveled the world collecting books for the Library and it was filled not only with books pertaining to Egypt and Greece, but the entire ancient world. At one time the Library even held the original works of Euripides and Sophocles. Along with being a repository for books; it was also a museum, a school and a center for scholastic research. Unfortunately in 48 B.C., the city fell under attack from Julius Caesar and a massive fire engulfed the Library, destroying at least 40,000 scrolls. One would think this would have been the end of this legendary library, but nearly 2,000 years later, the Egyptian government and UNESCO joined forces and brought the Library back to life as a cultural center for the world.
Your morning ends with a relaxing lunch at one of Alexandria's famous restaurants that overlooks the brilliant blue waters of the Mediterranean. Following an enjoyable lunch break, your tour resumes with a photo stop at the Citadel. Here, you will also be able to see the stunning Abu El Abbas Mosque, considered the most important historic mosque in Alexandria.
Next you'll visit the Roman Theater. This marvelous theater was discovered underneath a Muslim cemetery and 30 years of excavation finally brought to light this well-preserved site. The theater encompasses galleries, mosaics, marble flooring and marble seats for up to 800 spectators. Writings found here bear witness that during Byzantine times, the theater housed chariot races and gladiator contests. There is even some indication it may have had a roof and hosted musical events. The northern side of the theater shows evidence of the remains of lecture halls and auditoriums, leading experts to believe that this may also have been part of Alexandria's ancient university.
Re-boarding your coach, you'll head to the National Museum of Alexandria, considered by many to now be one of Egypt's premium museums. Located in a restored palace, this museum contains over 1,800 archaeological items that are housed chronologically on three floors. One level is dedicated to the Pharaohs' period, one to the Greco-Roman period and the last to the Coptic and Islamic eras. An interesting note is that the items in the museum were never previously exhibited, but instead were stored in other museums around Egypt. Additionally, some of the items on display were only recently found during underwater archaeological excavations in Alexandria.
Your afternoon winds down with a stop for shopping before it's time to journey back to Port Said where your tour concludes.
Please note: This tour travels a combined total of approximately 8 hours by coach and includes over 3 1/2 hours of walking and/or standing. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair and may not be suitable for those guests with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Comfortable clothing, a hat, sunglasses and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Flash photography and video cameras are not allowed at the Catacombs and the National Museum.