Alexandria Guide

Your Modern Guide to Local Services



Alexandria (Arabic: الإسكندرية al-Iskandariyya; Coptic: Rakotə; Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια; Egyptian Arabic: اسكندريه Eskendereyya), with a population of 4.1 million, is the second-largest city in Egypt, and is the country's largest seaport, serving about 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort.



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Your Guide to Alexandria


Tourist Information

Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) Ramleh Station, Saad Zaghlul Street Alexandria Tel: +203 807 985

Marine Passenger Station, Alexandria Port Alexandria Tel: +203 803 494




Airports

Most travellers fly into Cairo International Airport (CAI), which is well served by Egyptair as well as British Airways, Air France and most major

airliners.

From Cairo there are cheap and frequent flights to Alexandria Airport (ALY) 8km/5 miles to the south east of Alexandria, and Borg el Arab Airport

(HBE) which is 60km/38 miles south west.

Olympic Airlines fly to Alexandria Airport (ALY) from all over the world with a little change/connection at Athens Airport on the way.





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Getting Around

From the airport

Taxi. Burg al Arab airport is 60km west of Alexandria. Taxis will charge between EGP50 and EGP60 to take you downtown.

Bus. An air-conditioned bus leaves every hour and charges EGP6 per person plus an extra EGP1 per bag. The bus terminal is in front of Cecil Hotel on El Raml Square. Buses leave for the airport two hours before all departures.

Limousine. You could also call for a Limousine Car Rental and Limousine Services (tel: 575 0705 or mobile 012 287 9971) and Digital Car Rental and Limousine Service (tel: 573 2944 or mobile 012 325 0528).

Around town

Tram. There are three terminal stations: El Raml Square, San Stefano and Sidi Bishr. Services run from 5.30am to midnight (1 am in summer), with fares between EGP0.20and EGP0.25.AII trams running east are painted blue, while those on the western line are yellow and red.

Buses and minibuses cross Alexandria on two main roads, Corniche Road and Abu Keer / Horiyya Boulevard.Tickets range from EGP0.25 up to EGP2 for air-conditioned buses - usually the ones that go from El Raml to Montazah (east).

Taxi. Alexandria taxis are black and orange.They seldom use meters and will charge whatever they think they can get away with. Charges range from EGP5 to EGP25 for the furthest tip of Alexandria City.

Car rental. Avis (tel:+20 3 485 7000) is located at the Cecil hotel and is open daily from Sam to 8pm. A Toyota Corolla costs about $50 per day and a 4x4 Cherokee is about $100 per day. You can also try Alex Limousine (25Talaat Harb Street, tel:+20 3 82 5253), which hires out luxury cars with drivers.


Places To Stay

Budget

San Giovanni Hotel (205 El Corniche Road, tel:+20 3 546 7774) has been recently restored to its original splendour and has a restaurant serving fine food and a coffee shop, open 24 hours a day.There's also a night club and bar. Private bathrooms in the rooms.

Mid-range

Metropole Hotel (52 Saad Zaghloul Street, tel: +20 3 482 1465). Located in the heart of Alexandria's business district, this heritage hotel has 66 classic rooms and suites and French and Middle Eastern restaurants.

Luxury

Marriott Renaissance (544 El Geish Street, Sidi Bishr,tel:+20 3 549 7690). Located 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from downtown, the Renaissance boasts Chinese and Italian restaurants, a coffee shop, breakfast buffet, swimming pool, disco and billiards room. Back rooms overlook the Mediterranean Sea.


Eating Out

Local

Mohamed Ahmed (Shakor Pasha Street).This place has a reputation for serving the best Egyptian bean and falafel dishes and sandwiches in the city.There are menus in English and meals cost approximately EGP 10 per person. The Queen of Spain and many famous Egyptian actors have eaten here.

Qadoura (33 Bairam al-Tounsi Street, tel:+20 3 480 0405) has long been regarded as Alexandria's premier fish restaurant.There is no menu,you just choose your favourite seafood and ask to have it grilled, baked or fried. Price is determined by weight and type of fish.

Fine dining

Santa Lucia (40 Safiyya Zaghloul Street,tel:+20 3 486 0332). Recently renovated, this restaurant dates back to the 1940s. Classic interiors, excellent seafood, French and Greek cuisine and service.

The Greek Club by the Sea this is the most secret restaurant in Alexandria and is certainly my favourite. When I spend two weeks in Alexandria, I visit this restaurant at least every other day. It is in reality my "Local".

This restaurant by the island of Pharos is owned by a Greek who lived in Egypt all his life but adores his home country, he also owns Santa Lucia restaurant.

But his Greek club restaurant, will serve you authentic Greek food and the best OUZO money can buy. I couldn't believe it when they served me Sans Rival and Plomari Ouzo; certainly the best, along with dishes from Greece while sitting and watching the sea view from the Pharos Island. Please try it (no advertising here - I promise you)


After Hours

Alexandria has a decent selection of nightclubs that serve alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages. With live music, famous singers, oriental dancers and world famous show stars, the San Giovanni Night Club and adjoining San Giovanni Kings Bar in the San Giovanni Hotel is one of the best places to go for a good time.

Similarly Most hotels in Alexandria have good night time entertainments, and a selection of lounges and bars. Spitfire Bar and Havana Bar are also both excellent watering holes.

Trendy bar

Spitfire (7 Rue de I'Ancienne Bourse off Saad Zaghloul Street) almost feels like being in Bangkok. It has a reputation as a sailor's bar and the walls are plastered with stickers for shipping lines, oil companies, warships and overland travel groups and photos of drunk regulars. Domestic and imported liquor is served.

The Qatr El-Nada Garden which overlooks the sea serves a variety of breezy cocktails, and stays open until 3.00am.

Live Music

Al Fouad Bar (Al Salamlek Palace - Montazah Area, tel: +20 3 547 7999). Background piano music. Famous alcoholic and non-alchoholic cocktails. Late-night club. It is also one of the finest resturants in town.

San Giovanni (205 El Geish Avenue, Stanley tel: +20 3 546 7775). Live music, belly dancing and an international show.


Retail Therapy

Mall

Carrefour Mall (20 minutes south of downtown Alexandria). Local and international clothes, accessories, eyewear and more.The supermarket also carries local and international brands of food.

Zahran Mall is excellent and has a good selection of cinemas, which show a good selection of films.

Mina Mall and Deeb Mall are also worth a mention.

San Stefano a Grand Plaza, An excellent selection of shops. Just opened in 2006 and the whole complex is now becoming the landmark of Modern Alexandria.

For those hoping for a more traditional experience, the city also has many markets in the traditional Islamic style, and trinket stores tucked away in the dusty back alleys.

There are many street vendors, although they can sometimes be slightly intimidating.

If you are up for a good bargain, there is no one better to haggle with though! The city also has a particularly good range of bookshops, some of which specialise in international books and magazines in a variety of languages.

Market

El Atareen (Fouad Street). Although Atareen is known for its selection of antique furniture and accessories, shoppers should beware they don't end up with a recently made reproduction. Ask for verification.

Boutique

Trianon (56 Midan Saad ZaghloulJ.Trianon was a favourite of the poet Cavafy, who worked in the offices above. It's still popular and a good place for a continental-style breakfast too.


Culture Vultures

Alexandria has been the setting for events revolving around some of the most important figures in history. From Alexander and the Ptolemaic dynasty, to Cleopatra and Julius Caesar,

then later Augustus, the city has an extremely rich heritage.

To this day, monuments to a distant and ancient time still stand to be admired.

Attractions

Pompeii Pillar was built 1800 years ago in honour of the Emperor Diocletian, the first ruler of the Byzantine Empire after its formal split with Rome.

the limestone Tombs of Al-Anfushi date back to 250 B.C. and are decorated in exquisite engravings of ancient Egyptian Gods and the rituals of daily life.

Museum

The Graeco Roman Museum (Mathaf El Roman! Street, tel:+20 3 486 5820, www.grm.gov.eg). The museum contains hundreds of precious antiques. From Graeco-Roman and Pharaonic religions mingled with the cult of Serapis, to Christian exh and early Christian antiquities.

For a city with such a strong cultural history, it is no surprise that Alexandria also has a fine selection of museums. It is housed in a historical building that is host to an impressive collection of remnants from the Roman Age

Art gallery

The Museum of Fine Arts (18 Menasce Street, Moharrem Bey). A spectacular collection of sculptures, paintings and architectural work.

Modern

Modern Alexandria also contains many marvels of more recent times.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a massive and world famous library and research centre. It was constructed on the site of the former Library of Alexandria which was, under the Ptolemaics, the largest library in the world. It was destroyed in c. 400 A.D.

The city also has an impressive array of palaces, which were occupied by the former Egyptian royal family.

Montaza Palace and Ras Al-Teen Palace are examples of some of the most impressive architecture in the country. Built in 1892 by Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last khevive (lord) of Egypt, Montaza Palace is a sight to behold on the water’s edge.

Other

Sayed Darwish Opera House (22 Fouad opposite Cinema Royale,tel:+20 3 486 51 Cultural activities include classical conce plays and modern dance.


Going Places

Inside the city

Fort Qaitbay. The fort was built in the 1480s at ti site of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, one 01 the seven wonders of the ancient world. Remnants of the lighthouse can be seen in the construction of the fort.

Outside the city

El Alamein.

This is where the Allied forces gained a decisive victory against the Axis powers in World War II.


Local Tip

For a delightful ride on the Corniche overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, try a horse-drawn carriage (caleches or carita). You'll have to negotiate the price, which is roughly from EGP15 to EGP20 per hour. Find them across from the Cecil Hotel.



Modern Biblothica Alexandria




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