On our second day in Egypt, we remained docked at the Alexandria port. We had previously bought tickets for Celebrity Cruise’s Landmarks of Alexandria tour. Once again, we felt it wise to remain in a group setting and not venture out independently. The police escorted our motor coach through the garbage infested streets of Alexandria.
After a short while, we headed to Alexandria’s coast to view landmarks. Our first stop was at the recently refurbished 15th century Qait Bey Fort on the Mediterranean Sea. This area was considerably cleaner. The fort was built on the original site of the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Disappointingly, it was not open to the public.
We had a few minutes to walk around and take scenery shots of the structure and the coastline that was dotted with small boats.
Next, we went to the Mosque of Abu El Abbas. As we exited the bus, we could see a stately white structure with minarets and ornate carvings.
Our guide asked the women to walk to the side of the building to enter through the women’s entrance.
Upon entering, I could see the partition that separated the men from the women. This structure was similar to a mechizah that is used in Orthodox Jewish synagogues to separate the men from the women.
I am not aware of any synagogues that have different entrances for men and women. Other than the security line at Indian airports or entrances to Hindu temples, I have never experienced any segregated entrances.
I looked up at the ceiling. There were intricate carvings and a magnificent chandilier.
We drove along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was in the 70s, but all of the beaches were closed for the season. Our bus stopped at the Montazah Gardens so we could see one of the royal palaces of the last king of Egypt, Farouk. We parked near a building that had been converted to a private hotel. A $6 per person charge was required in order to enter. This fee entitled the participant to receive a beverage and the use of the bathroom. Instead, we chose to walk around.
We took several pictures of the coastline.
Down the road was a larger building that remains closed to the public. According to our guide, the interior is filled with national treasures that are only available to a select few. It’s a shame that the contents are not shared like palaces we have visited in other countries.
The beachfront boulevard had many modern high-rise buildings and numerous beaches. The first half of our tour focused on the landmarks along Alexandria’s picturesque coastline. A future blog will highlight the other places we visited.