With a population of 3.5 to 5 million, its the second-largest city in Egypt, and is the largest seaport that serves about 80% of all of Egypts imports and exports. Alexandria is also a very important tourist resort.
Alexandria extends about 32 km (20 miles) along the coast of the Mediterranean sea in north-central Egypt. Its home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the new Library of Alexandria), which fuses modern architecture with ancient symbols and Egyptian gods, and is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria was also an important trading post between Europe and Asia, because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the most famous cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Greek Macedonian king Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 AD when a new capital was founded at Fustat, later absorbed into Cairo.
Alexandria was also known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the Library of Alexandria (the largest library in the ancient world), and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages). Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhakotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
You can also visit Pompey's Pillar in downtown Alexandria and enter an underground part of the famous and now almost completely gone Library of Alexandria. A walk along the corniche by the new library is also beautiful and populated by several street vendors and seaside hookah bars.