Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean". Its weather is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the countries although it is only 225 km away from Cairo.
In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the most famous cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town in 334 BC by Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand year until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 AD when a new capital was founded at Fustat (Fustat was later absorbed into Cairo).
Alexandria is known for many landmarks such as : the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the Library of Alexandria (the largest library in the ancient world) and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages). Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details about Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhakotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
From the 19th century Alexandria took a new role as it focuses on Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. This Alexandria has been immortalized by writers such as E-M- Forster and Cavafy. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled there and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture.