Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern. Its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo.
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the centre of culture for centuries, and it remained Egypt´s capital for nearly a thousand years. Alexandria was known because of its lighthouse (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its library (the largest library in the ancient world); and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
The setting for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Alexandria was also the centre of learning in the ancient world. But ancient Alexandria declined, and when Napoleon landed, he found a sparsely populated fishing village. Alexandria took a new role, as a focus for Egypt´s commercial and maritime expansion. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture. Today, while studying here, it´s as important to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere as it is to see the famous historical sights.
Alexandria is one of the best cities for learning Arabic because very few of the natives speak foreign languages. It is a wonderful environment for the study of the Arabic language.
Foundation: 331 BC
Climate: Mild winters, hot summers
GMT Offset: GMT +2 hours
To do and see: The beaches of Alexandria, The cafes of Alexandria, Anfoushi Quarter, Kom el-Shoqafa Catacombs, Roman theatre (Kom el Dikka), Ras al-Tin Palace, Qaitbay Fort, Pompeii Column, The Graeco-Roman Museum, Alexandria Library, The Corniche, Old Alexandria,
Arabic in Alexandria
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Patrick M., USA
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