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  3. Alexandria

Alexandria, Egypt

View of Alexandria's harbor from Fort Qaitbey. Photo Creative Commons License Christopher Rose.

Alexandria (Arabic: Al-Iskandariyah; popularly known as Alex) is a major city in northern Egypt, about 114 miles from Cairo. Covering 25 miles (40 km) east to west, Alexandria lies on the Mediterranean Sea at the western edge of the Nile River delta. Chosen by Alexander the Great as the capital of his empire, Alexandria was one of the greatest cities in the Greco-Roman world. It was famed for its great library (which has recently been rebuilt) and the Pharos lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although it is now only a shadow of its once cosmopolitan self, Alexandria still contains several sights of religious interest, including temple ruins, a Coptic cathedral, excellent museums, and several beautiful mosques.

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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Alexandria

  • Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
    Built over the tomb of a 13th-century Spanish Sufi saint, this 18th-century mosque topped with lacy domes is the most beautiful in Alexandria.
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina
    This is a spectacularly modern reincarnation of the famed ancient Library of Alexandria, the center of learning in the Greek world.
  • Serapeum
    Very little remains of the great Temple of Serapis, the most important sacred site in ancient Alexandria. It was infamously destroyed by Bishop Theophilus in 391 AD.
  • St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral
    The seat of the Pope of Alexandria, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, this church is believed to stand on the site of the church founded by St. Mark the Evangelist.