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The Roman Amphitheater is located in Sharia Youssef, on Midan al-Gamhouriya, Alexandria. This Theatre was the only one discovered in Alexandria and it dates back to the First and Second Centuries A.D. The Theatre consists of auditorium and skene and between them there is the place of the orchestra. The steps of the theatre are made of marble except for the lower step which was made of red granite. The floor of the skene is decorated with mosaic taking the shape of some geometrical motifs such as circle, rectangle, and triangle.

 Alexandria’s history bridges the time of the pharaohs and the days of Islam. The city gave rise to the last great Pharaonic dynasty (the Ptolemies), provided the entry into Egypt for the Romans and nurtured early Christianity before rapidly fading into near obscurity when Islam’s invading armies passed it by to set up camp on a site along the Nile that later became Cairo.

 The Sphinx

Legends and superstitions abound about the Sphinx, and the mystery surrounding its long-forgotten purpose is almost as intriguing as its appearance. On seeing it for the first time, many visitors agree with English playwright Alan Bennett, who noted in his diary that seeing the Sphinx is like meeting a TV personality in the flesh: he’s smaller than one had imagined.
Known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol (Father of Fear), the feline man was dubbed the Sphinx by the ancient Greeks because it resembled the mythical winged monster with a woman’s head and lion’s body who set riddles and killed anyone unable to answer them. (It even has a little tail, daintily curled over its back right paw.)

Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus)

Entrance Fees: Adult 30EGP – Student 15EGP ( when open to visitors)
At 62m (originally 66.5m), this pyramid is the smallest of the trio, only about one-tenth the bulk of the Great Pyramid. The pharaoh Menkaure died before the structure was fi nished – around the bottom are several courses of granite facing
that was never properly smoothed.

 Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren)

Entrance Fees: Adult 30EGP – Student 15EGP
Southwest of the Great Pyramid, Khafre’s pyramid seems larger than that of his father, Khufu. At just 136m high, it’s not, but it stands on higher ground and its peak is still capped with the original polished limestone casing. Originally all three pyramids were totally encased in this smooth white stone, which would have made them gleam in the sun. Over the centuries, this casing has been stripped for use in palaces and mosques, exposing the softer inner-core stones to the elements.

 Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)

The oldest pyramid in Giza and the largest in Egypt, Khufu’s Great Pyramid stood 146m high when it was completed around 2570 BC. After 46 windy centuries, its height has been reduced by 9m. There isn’t much to see inside the pyramid, but the experience of climbing through the ancient structure is unforgettable – though impossible if you suff er the tiniest degree of claustrophobia. The elderly and unfit should not attempt the climb, as it is very steep.

 For nearly 4000 years, the extraordinary shape, impeccable geometry and sheer bulk of the Giza Pyramids have invited the obvious question: ‘How were we built, and why?’ Centuries of research have given us parts of the answer. We know they were massive tombs constructed on the orders of the pharaohs by teams of workers tens-of-thousands strong. This is supported by the discovery of a pyramid-builders’ settlement, complete with areas for large-scale food production and medical facilities. Ongoing excavations on the Giza Plateau have provided more evidence that the workers were not the slaves of Hollywood tradition, but an organized workforce of Egyptian farmers. During the flood season, when the Nile covered their fields, the same farmers could have been redeployed by the highly structured bureaucracy to work on the pharaoh’s tomb. In this way, the Pyramids can almost be seen as an ancient job-creation scheme. And the flood waters made it easier to transport building stone to the site.

A maze of ancient and modern churches and monasteries, set within the bounds of a former Roman fortress, Coptic Cairo is a fascinating counterpoint to the rest of the city, and holds a beautiful museum. You can visit the oldest mosque and the oldest synagogue in Cairo, as well as a dynamic arts centre and the quality shopping complex of Souq al-Fustat. There are three entrances to the Coptic compound: a sunken staircase across from the footbridge over the metro gives access to a section of narrow cobbled alleyways, most churches and the synagogue; the main gate in the centre is for the Coptic Museum; and another doorway further south leads to the Hanging Church. At one time there were more than 20 churches clustered within less than 1 sq km; more survive than are liste dhere.


 Despite the number of minarets on the skyline in this part of the city, ‘Islamic’ Cairo is a bit of a misnomer, as this area is not significantly more religious than other districts. But for many centuries it was one of the power centers of the Islamic empire, and its monuments are some of the most resplendent architecture inspired by Islam. Today, traditional galabeya (men’s full-length robes) still outnumber jeans, buildings and crowds press closer, and the din comes less from car traffic and more from the cries of street vendors and the clang of small workshops. Here the streets are a warren of blind  alleys, and it’s easy to lose not just a sense of direction but also a sense of time.




Cairo’s sights are spread all over the city, so it makes sense to do things in one area before moving on to the next – but don’t try to cram too much into one day, or you’ll soon be overwhelmed. The awe-inspiring but cluttered Egyptian Museum requires at least half a day, and ideally two or three shorter visits. Khan al-Khalili and most of the medieval monuments are in Islamic Cairo, and you’ll need a full day or several visits at different times of the day. Definitely allow a few hours of aimless wandering in this areas.


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