geographical name

City (metro. area pop., 2006: 4,110,015) and chief seaport, northern Egypt. It lies on a strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Maryut (Mareotis). The ancient island of Pharos, whose lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is now a peninsula connected to the mainland. Alexandria's modern harbour is west of the peninsula. The city was founded in 332 BCE by Alexander the Great and was noted as a centre of Hellenistic culture. Its library (destroyed in the early centuries CE) was the greatest in ancient times; a new library was opened in 2002. The city was captured by the Arabs in CE 642 and by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. After a long period of decline, caused by the rise of Cairo, Alexandria was revived commercially in the 19th century when Muhammad 'Ali joined it by a canal to the Nile River and introduced the production of cotton. Modern Alexandria is a thriving commercial community; cotton is its chief export, and important oil fields lie nearby. Cultural institutions include the Museum of Alexandria and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Variants of ALEXANDRIA

Alexandria Arabic Al-Iskandariyyah

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Alexandria, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Alexandria? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More