Past Cities

Al-Iskandariyah, Alexandria, Egypt

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Alexandria, or Al-Iskandariyah in Arabic, is a coastal city located in northern Egypt. It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE and became one of the most important centers of trade and culture in the ancient world. The city is situated on the Mediterranean coast, and its strategic location has played a significant role in its history.

During the Hellenistic period, Alexandria was a hub of Greek culture and scholarship. The city was home to the famous Library of Alexandria, which was the largest library in the ancient world and a center of learning for scholars from all over the Mediterranean. Alexandria was also a center of trade, with a bustling port that connected the city to the rest of the world.

In 30 BCE, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, and Alexandria continued to be an important center of culture and trade under Roman rule. The city was also a center of early Christianity, and Saint Mark is said to have founded the first Christian church in Alexandria in the 1st century CE.

During the Islamic period, Alexandria continued to thrive as a center of trade and culture. The city was conquered by the Arab general Amr ibn al-As in 641 CE, and it became an important center of Islamic learning and scholarship. The Great Mosque of Alexandria, which was built in the 9th century, still stands as a testament to the city's Islamic heritage.

Throughout its history, Alexandria has been affected by its political environment and geography. The city's location on the Mediterranean coast made it a center of trade and commerce, but it also made it vulnerable to attacks from outside forces. In the 7th century CE, Alexandria was besieged by the Arab general Amr ibn al-As during the Muslim conquest of Egypt. The city was also a target for European colonial powers, and it was occupied by the French in the late 18th century and the British in the early 20th century.

Alexandria has also been affected by political instability within Egypt. In the 20th century, the city was a center of political activism, and it played an important role in the Egyptian revolution of 1919. The city was also a center of resistance to British colonial rule, and it was the site of a major anti-British uprising in 1952.

Today, Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt, with a population of over 5 million people. The city is still an important center of trade and commerce, with a bustling port and a thriving tourism industry. Alexandria is also home to several important cultural and historical landmarks, including the Library of Alexandria, the Citadel of Qaitbay, and the Roman Amphitheater.

Alexandria has a rich and diverse history that spans over two thousand years. The city has been a center of culture, trade, and learning, and it has been shaped by its political environment and geography. Despite its many challenges, Alexandria has persevered and remains an important center of commerce and culture in Egypt and the wider Mediterranean region.