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This page gives some introductory information the main historic attractions and museums in Alexandria.
One of the best-known ancient monuments in Alexandria is Pompey’s Pillar. Mistakenly named in the Middle Ages, it is a red granite pillar which stands on Alexandria’s ancient acropolis that was originally part of a temple colonnade. It is almost 100 feet tall, including its pedestal. Under the acropolis are the subterranean remains of the Serapeum, with carved wall niches that are thought to have provided overflow storage space for the ancient library. There are pieces of statuary on display, some found on the site and other that have been brought there, including two sphinxes.
Just a short walk southwest of the pillar are the Roman period catacombs (Kom al-Shoqafa), discovered by accident in the 20th century. The catacombs complex is cut into the existing rock, accessible by a large spiral staircase. There are several chambers decorated with sculpted pillars, statues, and other Romano-Egyptian religious symbols and burial niches. There is also a Roman-style banquet room (triclinium) that where memorial meals were held, hosted by relatives of the deceased. The site also displays some items on the surface, including some interesting tombs (complete with original wall paintings), statues and sarcophogi mostly of the same historic period.
This unique Roman Theatre is located downtown at Kom al-Dikkah (near Misr train station, the terminus). Discovered by accident in the early 1960s, it has 12 semi-circular marble tiers in good condition. The Roman Theatre site has undergone some restoration, includes placement of pillars and a display of some statues from undersea explorations. The site is also home to some mosaics in the Villa of the Birds. It is not possible to access the entire area as there is more excavation under way.
At the same site there are statues and sarcophogi on display as well as some large items (such as sphinxes and statues from earlier historic periods) that have been found during the underwater explorations in the harbour area.
The Graeco-Roman Museum is a short walk from the Roman Theatre and home to many collections of rare Greek and Roman relics and coins. There are some 40,000 in all, ranging from the third century BC through the seventh century AD, including the Tanagra collection. Please note that until further notice this museum is currently closed for renovations.
The Royal Jewellery Museum (in Ahmed Yehia Street) reopened after a five year renovation programme in April 2010. Housed in the former palace of Princess Fatima AlZahra, it contains paintings and statues as well as royal jewelery from the Mohamed Ali dynasty.
Alexandria National Museum (near Shallalat Gardens on Fouad Street) is a small museum in a restored large Italianate villa. It contains pieces from both the above museums as well as from other archaeological sites from other parts of Egypt. Displays date from prehistoric and Phaoronic times up to 20th century. Items are labelled clearly in English and Arabic.
In addition to the catacombs mentioned above the following are also open to visitors. These are relatively small sites with underground tombs and a selection of statues on display outdoors. There is no labelling or written information available at these sites.