Egypt - Alexandria formally
became part of the Roman Empire in 30 BC. It was the greatest of the Roman
provincial capitals, with a population of about 300,000 free persons and
numerous slaves. Alexandria had two celebrated royal libraries, one in
a temple of Zeus and the other in a museum. The collections were said to
contain c.700,000 rolls. They were gradually destroyed from the time of
Caesar's invasion, and suffered especially in AD 391, when Theodosius I
had pagan temples and other structures razed.
|The Arabs moved the capital
of Egypt to Cairo in 969 and Alexandria's decline continued, accelerating
in the 14th cent., when the canal to the Nile silted up. During his Egyptian
campaign, Napoleon took the city in 1798, but it fell to the British in
1801. The city gradually regained importance after 1819, when the Mahmudiyah
Canal to the Nile was completed.
During World War II, as
the chief Allied naval base in the Mediterranean, Alexandria was bombed
by the Germans. In a 1944 meeting in Alexandria, plans for the Arab League
were drawn up. The city's foreign population declined during the 20th century,
particularly after the 1952 Egyptian revolution
Activities and Sports
Popular among divers, the
Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea Coast boast shipwreck ruins and dense marine
life. Coral, small fish, large turtles, nurse sharks and Napoleon wrasse
are examples of just some species in the area. Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras
Muhammad are the main dive centres on the Sinai Peninsular. The famous
WWII wreck, SS Thistlegorm can be found just off Sharm el-Sheikh, while
the Straits of Tirian are home to beautiful offshore reefs. Full training
is available and it is possible to enjoy the diving opportunities, regardless
of ability. During November and December the water is at its clearest and
in February and March, planktons swarming the area attract stunning manta
Starting in the west bank
of Gerizra, a donkey ride can be taken above the Valley of the Kings. The
ride takes visitors through sugar cane fields, along the ridge over Deir
El Bahri, into the Valley of the Kings and back down to the temple of Hatshepsut.
Feluccas (sail boats) and
motor launches can be rented by the hour for a cruise along the Nile. Motor
launches tend to be very comfortable and fully equipped with tables and
cushions. Children are allowed to pilot the boat in some areas, such as
the sandy banks of Luxor. Tea is included and lunch can be arranged. A
pleasant trip on a felucca can be taken to the Banana Islands during a
glorious sunset. Banana palms cover the island which ok stunning but are
also a tasty treat. The felucca is an exceptional way to travel allowing
visitors to fully experience their surroundings while enjoying the peace
dining offers a unique blend of Middle-Eastern and Arabic foods. Due to
the country’s location, there are large varieties of ingredients and foods
available from both Africa and Asia. Meat is often used in cooking, whether
it is grilled, roasted or minced. Lamb and chicken are a favourite amongst
locals. It is common to see a lot of cows when in Egypt, though they are
used more for labour than eating.
Fava beans and chickpeas
are plentiful in Egypt with the locals using them in most of their dishes.
They are ground to produce tahini and hummus, often served at lunch and
dinner, with a large amount of garlic mashed in.
is also used in several Egyptian dishes. Moussaka is a famous eggplant
dish mixed with white cheese. Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower,
potatoes and Okra are prominent in cooking, as well as garlic and tomatoes.
Rice is provided with most meals.
dishes include T’amiyaa, which is a mixture of noodles, onions, rice, lentils,
tomato sauce and mashed chickpeas. Another popular dish is the shish kebab,
which can be served in a number of ways. Skewers are often used and are
accompanied with side dishes of tahini sauce, tomato salad and pita bread.
Whole-wheat pita bread allows people to eat the kebab like a sandwich.
Dipping sauces are offered with pita bread and include: hummus, tahini
or babaganoush. Salads are served with most dishes as a refreshing
appetizer. Tomato and onion salads with simple garlic oil makes for a delicious
dish. It is often seasoned with mint, coriander and small peppers.
|Grilled pigeon is considered
a delicacy in Egypt as are tuna and perch from the Red Sea. These are often
fried in a thin batter. Spices are plentiful in Egypt, with bazaars offering
a huge range from saffron to ochres. Salt and cumin are the common condiments
found on restaurant tables.
Juice bars can be found scattered
around the city and are known for their refreshing freshly squeezed orange
juices and sugar canes. Oranges, figs, dates and pomegranate are sweet
snacks, which can be found in most markets or along the road.
Alcohol is not commonly
available, though the local beer, ‘Stella’ is a popular alternative.
Cafés offer a cheaper
alternative to restaurants, though the quality of the food served in cafés
is noticeably less. Street stalls and vendors are the cheapest option around
and are also possibly the tastiest.