If you want to spend a day outside of Cairo seeing another significant city in Egypt, and you’ve decided to take the best day trip from Cairo to Alexandria, here’s a thorough account of what to see, where to stop, and what to do during the day.
You should not miss the following places:
A day trip to Alexandria used to be unpleasant, and visitors were disappointed when they arrived to find a major metropolis identical to Cairo. It felt like they had to travel for three hours to see what was already available in Cairo. Don’t go on a day trip from Cairo to Alexandria simply to see the Mediterranean and take in the sea breeze; there’s so much more to see and do, including the incredible Catacombs of Kom El Shokafa, the Roman Amphitheater at Kom Eddeka, and the Alexandria Library. The ideal day trip from Cairo to Alexandria should include a visit to Faros Island to see Sultan Qaytbay’s stronghold, which boasts amazing architecture and breathtaking vistas.
The Kom Eshokafa Catacombs
The rocky plateau of Kom Esh-Shogafa is between the ancient settlements of Karmuz and Minia el-Bassal. Rhakotis, Alexandria’s oldest district, predated Alexander the Great and was home to a town and fishing harbor. The first catacombs were discovered here, in what is now one of Alexandria’s most densely populated neighborhoods. Mohammad Ali Pasha used the region to protect the city, and it was dismantled in 1850.
The excavations at Kom Esh-ShoKafa began in 1892, but no catacombs were discovered until September 28th, 1900. According to legend, a donkey pulling a cart accidentally fell through a hole in the ground and into one of the tombs. The story is still told to tourists! The truth, on the other hand, is quite different! The authentic find was discovered by Monsieur Es-Sayed Aly Gibarah, an Alexandrian stone miner. He uncovered Kom el-Shuqafa, which dates from the second century AD. Since they were built to house over 300 dead notables, the catacombs are Egypt’s most well-known Roman burial site.
Kom Esh-Shokafa was only open to the public in 1995 when the subsoil water from the second level was extracted. The catacombs were cut out of the solid rock on three levels. The corpses were lowered down the spiral staircase’s center well using ropes. Two semicircular niches flank the entranceway, each with a bench topped with a shell carved into the niche’s domed upper section. This leads to a rotunda with an eight-pillared domed kiosk that is built around a central well.
The Roman Amphitheater in Kom Eddeka
Nobody gave the old debris pile in central Alexandria any thought until it was decided to demolish it in the 1960s to create a way for new residences. The Kom el-Dikka (“Mound of Rubbles”) region unearthed a plethora of ancient relics buried beneath, including a modest Roman theatre, as construction began. Today, the site is a small archaeological park featuring antiquities from the Greco-Roman era in Alexandria. In addition to the theatre, there are the ruins of a Ptolemaic temple, Roman baths, and several Roman-era houses. Excavation work on the Villa of the Birds here unearthed and saved well-preserved 3rd-century mosaic floors. Horrya Street faces the Roman Amphitheatre or Roman Theatre on the north, Nabi Daniel Street on the west, Abdel Moneim Street on the south, and Saphia Zaghloul Street on the east. It is a symbol of Alexandria. Amphitheaters were named after the Greek phrase for “double theatre,” which meant “large and impressive construction.” Amphitheaters were open-air theatres with no stage curtains, commonly built-in semi-circular configurations.
The Roman Theatre of Egypt is small in size, and the majority of the structure is in ruins, but it is an amazing historical monument from Egypt’s Roman period. The theatre also has a number of galleries that are poorly built. These galleries, which also have 700-800 marble seats arranged around the stage, can accommodate more spectators. In the strata above the Roman roadway, two more archaeological sites were discovered. Here was a Muslim cemetery as well as slums. This Roman theatre, which dates from the second century A.D., had a 42-meter-wide auditorium. The structure of the theatre was most likely decorated with columns on multiple levels. However, the theatre was eventually renovated, and the massive auditorium’s circumference was reduced to 33.5 m. Following that, it counted 16 rows of marble chairs.
The Pillar of Pompey
The pillar is Alexandria’s most important ancient monument. It is emerging from the ruins of the ancient and well-known secretion (temple of Serapis). This column of red Aswan granite with a Corinthian capital stands on a badly ruined substructure and rises to nearly 28 meters in height. It was built in 292 A.D. in honor of Emperor Diocletian, who provided food for the city’s starving population following the siege. A Greek text written on the base of this column states: Posthumous, governor of Alex, erected this column as a tribute to the very fair emperor Diocletian. The crusades incorrectly referred to this column as Pompey’s Pillar.
The Fortress of Sultan Qaytbay
The Qaitbay Fort in Alexandria is regarded as one of the most important defensive fortresses not only in Egypt but also along the Mediterranean coast. In the 15th century A.D., it formulated an important part of Alex’s fortification system. The Mameluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay fortified the site around 1480 A.D. as part of his coastal defensive edifices against the Turks, who were threatening Egypt at the time. He built the castle and enclosed it with a mosque.
The citadel remained operational for the majority of the Mameluke, Ottoman, and modern periods. However, it was kept out of the spotlight following the British bombardment of Alex City in 1883. It was neglected until the twentieth century when the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities restored it several times. The fort was constructed on Faros Island, which once housed an ancient lighthouse. The lighthouse, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, had four stories. The lighthouse’s stones were used to construct a portion of the fort.
The Mosque of Abulabbas
El Mursi Abulabbas arrived in Alexandria with the intention of teaching Islamic theology at the El Attarin Mosque. He died in 1287 and was buried where the mosque now stands. The mosque was renovated several times, the most recent by the Egyptian government in 1929, and construction was completed in early 1943. The current mosque was built in the Andalusian style, with a unique octagonal layout and 22-meter sides. The mosque covers an area of 3000 square meters. The walls of the mosque are 23 meters high and made of artificial stone, while the minaret on the southern side is 73 meters tall. Internally, the mosque is shaped like an octagon, with 22-meter sides.
Although there is a 5.60-meter-high mosaic dada, the inside walls are also covered with a fake stone. The ceilings are arabesque-decorated and supported by sixteen solid, or monolithic, Italian granite columns, complete with capital and base. They have an octagonal shape and a diameter of 85 meters, and a height of 8.60 meters. The domes have two layers: an inner layer and an outer layer. The inner ones, which form the ceiling, are 22 meters tall and 5 meters across. The top domes are 7.5 meters in diameter and 11 meters higher than the lower domes. The flooring is laid with white marble. The doors, minibar, and windows are all made of teak that has been elegantly carved and connected.
Library of Alexandria
Most tourists’ first stop in Alexandria is the contemporary reimagining of Alexandria’s historic Great Library. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina serves as the city’s cultural center and is one of Egypt’s most visible modern landmarks. It has one of the most ambitious libraries in the world, as well as a number of museums dedicated to the history and legacy of Alexandria. Its design is based on a massive sun disc that sits above the Corniche, which is located on the seaside. On the inside, the main library and its reading room can hold eight million books. The wonderfully organized exhibition rooms beneath the main library, on the other hand, are the main tourist attractions.
The Alexandria Antiquities Museum houses a collection ranging from Ancient Egypt to the Greco-Roman era, with highlight exhibitions displaying statuary discovered during underwater archaeological digs in the port. The Manuscript Museum, located beneath the library, houses an ancient manuscript and scroll collection. Other rooms feature rotating contemporary art exhibitions, a permanent Egyptian folk art collection, and a Science Museum and Planetarium for children.
Day Trip to Alexandria From Cairo
If you live in Cairo or are visiting Egypt as a tourist, a day excursion from Cairo to Alexandria is recommended to enjoy the ancient Greek and Roman ruins that Alexandria has to offer.