One Day in Alexandria
Rius and I agreed to drive to Alexandria on my third days in Egypt. Alexandria had got my curiosity and was on the list of ‘places I must visit when I am in Egypt’. The city had been the world center study, witness of love story of Anthony and Cleopatra, and became the capital of Greco – Roman Egypt under the rules of Alexander the Great.
The journey took 225 km from Cairo. Along the way, I couldn’t see many things but desert and desert. Rius thought that it was a bit boring. While driving, he kept himself awake by drinking a big cup of coffee that he took from his home and Egyptian music while I wondered every scenery we passed. For the people who saw desert for the first time, all those sands look so wonderful.
It was before midday, when we finally reached the city. Unlike Cairo that is more resemble to the cities in Middle East, Alexandria is more look like Mediterranean city. It was not as hot as Cairo, perhaps due to its location next to Mediterranean Sea.
Our first visit was Alexandria Library. It has beautiful design with amphitheater roof shape, covered by glass and steel construction. There is big pool in front of the building, which I didn’t understand what the concept was. I didn’t think it’s to accentuate water front concept since Mediterranean Sea is in front of the building. The library was full by foreign tourists as me, students, or local tourists that just want to see how the library was. Luckily, this time, they allowed me to bring my camera with me, so I could memorize some moments inside the library.
It was not only about the books. The library has paintings gallery showing Alexandria city in the past. In addition, collection of statues was also there, such as Socrates, the father of knowledge and Caesar Augustus. You also could see the manuscript, consist of old books from ancient times, with additional fees.
Qaitbey Citadel was our second stop. This fortress was constructed by the order of Sultan Qaitbay Al Zahiry (1468-1496) to protect Egypt from Ustmani Dynasty. Being there was like going into architecture books that I read when I was in university. The fortress itself consists of two stories where its arch roofs are supported by stone columns. In the backyard, it is bordered to Mediterranean Sea where visitors could sit, relax and enjoy the breeze. I met some Indonesian tourist group when I was there. Rius himself took this chance to be acquainted to some Egyptian girls that asked me to take some photos with them.
Last stop is Montazah Palace. Located in area as big as 1,5 acres, this palace is surrounded by walls on west, east, south sides and sea at the north side. The palace was built in 1892 by King Abbas II. I couldn’t tell much about this palace since it was not open to public visitors. So, for the rest of the day, Rius and I just walked in down the street at water front area, waited for the sun went down.