Alexandria from space. Alexandria (الإسكندرية) is the 2-nd largest city and a major economic center in Egypt, extending 32 km along the Mediterranean coast. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. It’s Egypt’s largest seaport, serving 80% of all imports and exports. It’s also an important industrial center because of its oil & natural gas pipelines from Suez.

It was founded around a small Ancient Egyptian town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. It then became an important center of the Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Egypt for almost 1000 years until the Muslim conquest in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world; now replaced by a modern one); and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Alexandria was the 2nd-most powerful city of the ancient world after Rome. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic (also Greek) dynasty.