My Egypt Story (Part 2)

October 22, 2016

Chapter 2:

10th October 2016

As the temperature in Egypt goes as high as 50 degrees, we had to start our days very early. By 5 in the morning we were already in the bus and left for Alexandria. It takes approximately 3 and a half hours from Cairo to reach Alexandria. It is in Alexandria that the Nile meets the Mediterranean sea. On our way, our Egyptologist explained how the city of Alexandria was named. So let's make it a fun fact.

Fun fact #3: Alexandria, as the name suggests, was founded by the Greek emperor, Alexander the great. The ancient Egyptians believed only a true Egyptian should rule their land. Therefore to win their hearts, Alexander himself went to the Egyptian temples with offerings and donations. This impressed the locals and they accepted him as their king. Now Alexander chose Alexandria because it was closest to Greece and can be a link to connect Greece to the rich Nile valley. Also the weather was more favourable and the site was safe from attacks.

We stopped for a quick break at the most famous resting point, masters which was around 40 minutes away from Alexandria.

We finally reached the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa.

The catacombs consists of several Alexandrian tombs. It is not the only one of it's kind. There are others in different parts of Europe. However, this is the only one in good condition as it had not been discovered till the 1900s. Although it was initially built for burial of one family, over time it expanded.

Kom el Shoqafa means mound of shards as there used to be terracotta shards. These shards are of the utensils that were brought by the visitors. The visitors brought food and wine in them to consume during their visit but would not carry the dishes back as it was considered bad luck so they would break them instead.

By the way, the tombs are from 2nd to 4th AD. Therefore, when you go down 100 feet along the circular staircase, you will find both Roman and Egyptian art and in the catacombs you will find artefacts from Greek influences as well.

There is a room on the left as you get down. that used to be the place for the mourners where they used to eat.
 You'll find a hall of Carcalla on the right hand side when you come out from the mourner's room.
Along with human bones, there are bones of horses too.
There are three big stone tombs found believed to be that of a father, mother and their son. These are well decorated.
(Photos were not allowed inside.)

The next stop was the Pompey's pillar, which was very near to the catacombs.

The Pompey's pillar is the biggest memorial column in Egypt. It is also called the memorial of Diocletian. Now the story goes like this, when the Roman ruler Diocletian wanted to besiege the city, a serious revolt took place. However, after 8 months of resistance, the people gave in and the city was stuck by famine. So the Emperor asked them not to pay taxes and also provided them with the corn that was supposed to be sent to Rome. As a sign of gratitude, the people built this pillar for the emperor.

There is a false story too. It was believed that the ashes of the great roman general Pompey was in a pot at the top of the pillar. Hence the name was given as Pompey's pillar. But it was nothing like that.

On the backside of the pillar, we went to see the remains of the temple of Serabis. God Serabis is in a shape of a bull.

Also we went inside the ancient library. The only library I have visited which does not have any books. :P

(Since I have already said a lot for today, we'll take a break now and continue the rest part of Alexandria in the next post.)
To read the part 1 click here.

Sumelika ❤️

You Might Also Like


  1. Egypt is so fascinating! It is one of the countries I'd love to visit. :-)

    1. It's truly amazing. You should visit at least once. Very interesting place :)