Alexandria is Egypt’s second biggest city and a key commercial hub, stretching 32 kilometers (20 miles) along the Mediterranean Sea coast in the country’s north central region. It is very susceptible to rising sea levels due to its low height in the Nile delta. Alexandria is Egypt’s busiest seaport, handling around 80% of the country’s imports and exports. Because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez, it is a major industrial hub. Alexandria is a popular tourist attraction as well.
Alexander the Great established Alexandria around a minor Ancient Egyptian settlement circa 331 BC. It grew to be an important hub of Hellenistic civilisation, and it served as the capital of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Egypt for about 1000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was established at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo).
Hellenistic The Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Alexandria’s Great Library (the greatest in the ancient world; now replaced by a contemporary one), and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, are among the city’s most famous attractions. After Rome, Alexandria was the second most powerful city in the ancient world. The ongoing marine archaeology in Alexandria’s port, which started in 1994, is uncovering information about Alexandria both before Alexander’s arrival and throughout the Ptolemaic dynasty, when a city called Rhacotis existed there.
Alexandria became a significant hub of international shipping and one of the world’s most important commercial capitals in the late 18th century, owing to the easy overland link between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, as well as the profitable Egyptian cotton trade.