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Parker, Colorado
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Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

Stopping on cruise ship tour - deciding between two tours - the Roman Catacombs, Pompey's Pillar & Alexandria Museum OR Fort Qait Bey, the Lighthouse and the Library of Alexandria. I like the idea of seeing the lighthouse and library but are these going to be basically ruins where the other tour will be of more museum/artifacts, etc.? I see on the popularity listing on Trip Advisor that the first choices are the more popular. Also - could we not just take a taxi to see the lighthouse and library ruins and how far would that be from the cruise ship port? Thanks for any advice.

Copenhagen
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1. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

Hi there,

I guess that by library, they mean the new one, which definitely is no ruin.

I think that the museum is by far the most interesting thing, although Fort Qaitbay and the Catacombs are also worth a visit.

All sites are far from each other, so transportation is necessary.

Perhaps Egyptian Goddess, destination expert for Alexandria can be of more help than I regarding the cruise-ship port and the possibility of getting a cab there. I am not as familiar with Alex as I am with Cairo and Luxor.

Hope you figure something out, my fave is the museum, but I also have a special interest in the Greco/Roman period in Egypt, so perhaps you like the other sites better.

Louise

Parker, Colorado
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235 posts
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2. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

This is the tour description of the Library: Library of Alexandria - The modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina is an integrated cultural complex with libraries, museums, exhibition areas, educational centers, and an international conference centre. The complex is designed as a state-of-the-art translation of Alexandria’s ancient library, one of the great centers of learning until its destruction in 1100 A.D.

I should say that the lighthouse and library tours also include the Roman Amphitheater.

Alexandria, Egypt
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884 posts
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3. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

Choices, Choices!

Don't know if it will help you out any to know that nothing at all remains of the lighthouse - it is now hidden beneath the Qait Bey castle. Also, while the library is an architectural gem - it really isn't all that exciting. It does contain a couple of quite nice museums down in it's depths though of some of the artifacts dragged out of the water.

The good news is that all these sites are relatively close to each other and to the port - so if you do choose to miss out on one of the tours - you could easily get a taxi to see what you miss. The furthest away is the library - but it probably takes 10 minutes to get from there to the port.

If it was me - I'd opt for the first tour: the catacombs, Pompeys pillar and the museum. There isn't much to see at the pillar - but never mind - the other two bits will more than make up for it. And if it includes the amphitheatre as well - you won't be missing out.

If you do have some free time - it may be worth popping over to see the Qait Bey Fort. From there you'll have a lovely view over all of Alex - get to see the sea - and you'll be able to look across and see the library and then you can decide if it will be worth the extra effort to go out to see it. Maybe you would be able to get the tour bus to drop you off on the seafront instead of returning to the ship and going to the effort of trying to get a taxi both ways.

Parker, Colorado
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235 posts
34 reviews
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4. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

Thank you, - yes I was thinking that since the lighthouse is not really there - and you'd only see where it was thought to be ... what are you really seeing. That helps and I think it may decide the tour we need to do - and then we will still have time so I think we may take your advice and see the Qait Bey on our own. Are there any other sites besides those I mentioned - or things to do - that we should check out? Thank you so much!

Copenhagen
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5. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

I knew Egyptian Goddess would save the day with her sound advice. I fully agree with her re. the library and the pillar.

If you are interested, you can click the link and see some of my flickr-photos from Alex:

Qaitbay: flickr.com/photos/…

Library:

flickr.com/photos/…

Kom el-Dikka (theater):

flickr.com/photos/…

Louise

Parker, Colorado
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235 posts
34 reviews
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6. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

This is why I like Trip Advisor's website....instant help from people all around the world!! Are there any other places to just see in Alexandria we should try to catch - what is near the ship's port - is there shopping or restaurants (would imagine so to catch us tourists.) One other thing - any advice on what to wear or security concerns other than the normal common sense and to dress conservatively? It will be early Oct. - still very hot? Great advice and thanks very much to all of you.

Philadelphia
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7. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

If I were going back to Alex, the catacombs (Kom El Shoqafa) would be the definite #1 on my must-see list.

Have a good time!

Oak Park, Illinois
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320 posts
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8. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

I'd recommend that you jettison the commercial tour and use cabs which are readily available everywhere.

Hail a cab at the port to take you to Fort Qaitbey, then go to the catacombs. After the catacombs have lunch at one of the wonderful seafood restaurants and then go to the museum. Then hail another cab to go to the library/planetarium. They will take your breath away, especially if you can see them at dusk/night, all lit up. All these sites will provide you with guided tours if you want them.

Make the most of your time in Alex; it is well worth it.

Oak Park, Illinois
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320 posts
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9. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

IMHO the Roman Amphitheatre wins hands down over the Catacombs, especially if you have already seen Roman Catacombs.

Abu Dhabi, United...
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10. Re: Catacombs, Pillar and Museum or Library and Lighthouse?

Everything on your list is good, although my least favourite is the Library. For Qait Bey doesn't take long (there's nothing inside - just the structure itself). I would choose the tour of the Roman Catacombs, Pompey's Pillar & Alexandria Museum because it gives you a feel for Alexandria's history. I hope you will also see the Corniche (which you have to see on the other tour) and if you can go to the Roman Ampitheatre (Kom El Dikka) as well that would be ideal.