A combination site of three cultures – Pharaonic, Hellenistic and Roman – this is an unexpected treasure in Alexandria. Located in the midst of a crowded old city, this is essentially an ancient burial site that preserves to a fair degree how burial would have happened.
The entrance is the opposite of imposing a bland gate with a guard. Who will check for cameras – they are not allowed inside. There is a short walk through broken pieces of buildings and a few sarcophagi, till you reach a rough hewn stone staircase going down. Be careful, there is little light here.
Inside there are burial chambers in three levels, though the lowest is under water now. In the centre is a six-pillared central shaft which opens off the vestibule. There is little authentic information about who this belonged to. There are various chambers, some clearly Roman, others marked in Egyptian symbols. There is also a strangely named Hall of Carcalla, where a glass case contains bones of horses and human mixed! Apparently these were of victims of a massacre. A bit macabre. Also the place has many broken plates and jars as apparently custom demanded that after eating – there is a hall for that, utensils were not to be carried back. Influences from the cultures intersect in design, layout and even purpose of space usage.
Everything is dimly lit, with open electric wires. Not just for anyone infirm. Today there are relatively few visitors, possibly due to most people avoiding Egypt at present. But this is a small place, and it can get crowded. Carry water with you. Definitely for those interested in history only.
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