Alexandria is situated on the Mediterranean coast, an attractive port city named after Alexander the Great, the Greek king who conquered Egypt in the 4th century BC. Its waterfront location has made it something of a cultural melting pot - with French, Greek, Italian and Lebanese influences in its food, drink and popular music, alongside the Egyptian ones.
The Pharos lighthouse at Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. A modern cultural treasure is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, located on the harbourside Corniche. It's designed to recapture the spirit of the old library of antiquity, with room for 8 million books.
The original library was founded by Ptolemy, a general who gained control after Alexander the Great and started a dynasty that lasted 300 years. Cleopatra was the last of the Ptolemies, after which the Romans took over. The semi-circular Roman amphitheatre and 3rd-century Roman baths are evocative reminders of that period of Alexandria's history.
West along the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria are the beach resorts of El-Agami and Hannoville and the war cemeteries of El-Alamein. These are the resting place of the soldiers who fought and died during the epic World War Two tank battle between the German Afrika Korps and the Allied Eight Army.
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