Alexandria

The capital of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, which was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. on the Mediterranean coast. The city was essentially Hellenistic in layout and appearance, although pieces of pharaonic sculpture, such as granite obelisks and statues of the Ptolemaic kings and queens, were in evidence at various locations. Older pharaonic sculptures and monuments were transported from the inland in order to embellish the city. Especially under Ptolemy II Philadelphos (284-246 v.Chr.) the city developed into the principal intellectual centre of the ancient world, and it attracted many scholars to its famous library (the Mouseion). The principal god of the city was Sarapis, a new deity incorporating the Egyptian god Osiris-Apis of Saqqara as well as aspects of Greek deities. The lighthouse on the island of Pharos opposite the city was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The archaeological remains of Alexandria and its cemeteries are all but covered by the modern town, apart from a few ruins that now lie beneath the waters of the harbour.