A Land of Plenty
Alexander the Great founded the city. He chose where it would be built when he conquered Egypt in 331 B.C. He was buried there after his death, and Ptolemy succeeded him. Ptolemy's descendants ruled for 300 years until Cleopatra in 30 B.C.
This city was right in the middle of the crossroads of great trading routes, so it made a good trading place. It was a safe place for sailors to have their ships, had many huge warehouses, a large number of dockworkers, and a large, always bustling market. By the first century A.D., Alexandria was probably as big and beautiful as Rome.
Many luxury goods came to Alexandria. Fine wines from Italy and bronze statues from Greece, raw materials such as wood and marble.... Alexandria was receiving it all.
Pharos, Alexandria's equivalent of Statue of Liberty, marked the entrance to a safe port. It is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world along with the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Temple of Artemis and Ephesus. The light from it was lit at all times
A picture of the lighthouse done by Couchie.
A painting of ancient Alexandria, picturing the famous Canopus Street.
A picture of ancient Alexandria by Yann Bernard.
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Canopus Street is Alexandria's main street. It is more than one hundred feet wide, which means it is wider than a basketball court is long. It is wider than any street in Rome and four times the size of any street in Pompeii. Many of the activities of Alexandria takes place here.
This is a beautiful shrine built at first to commemorate Marc Antony. Later, since Emperor Augustus finished it, he dedicated the temple to himself. As the writer Philo put it, the temple is "wonderfully high and large, full of precious paintings and statues, and beautiful all over with gold and silver." It contains colonnades, huge libraries, and preciously sacred groves, all skillfully made to perfection.
In front of the temple above, two obelisks stand, cut from one slab of granite. They were brought a different Egyptian temple and put there by a Roman engineer in 13 B.C. They are known lovingly as "Cleopatra's Needles"
(a note from the future; one was removed and taken to London, and the other to New York in the nineteenth century)