Alexandria is Egypt's second city & its only true waterfront city. When Alexander the Great, at the gae of only 25, wrested Egypt from the Persian empire in 332 BC he decided against Memphis, the ancient capital, in favour of building a new city linked by sea to his Macedonian homeland. Choosing a site near the fishing village of Rhakotis, where two limestone spurs formed a natural harbour, he gave orders to his architect, Deinocrates, before travelling on to Siwa and thence to Asia, where he died eight years later. The city grew to become a major trade centre and a focal point of learning for the entire Mediterranean world; its ancient library, founded in the 3rd century BC, held over 500,000 volumes & was acclaimed as the foremost centre of learning in the ancient world, while the long-since-gone Pharos lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The city declined into insignificance from the 4th century onward and today shows little of its past glories... except for this building, the architecturally splendid Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The reincarnation of the original library is a game attempt to put the city back on the world's cultural map and to bring it bang into the twenty-first century. It was inspired by the original great Alexandria library & this modern-day equivalent is designed to hold 8 million books & has a massive outer wall decorated with script from every know world alphabet.
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