The Corniche is a waterfront promenade in Alexandria Egypt, running along the Eastern Harbor. It is one of the major corridors for traffic in Alexandria. The western end starts by the Citadel of Qaitbay, built in place of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It runs for over ten miles and ends by the Montaza Palace. Downtown Alexandria's wide waterfront road is as much a symbol of the city as any of its monuments. It's here that you get a real feel for the era of cosmopolitan elegance and decadence that marked this city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of the architecture from this era still stands along the Corniche, though these days, much of it is heavily dilapidated and falling into disrepair. Despite appearances however, ocean front property is as valuable here as it is elsewhere in the world and it is along this promenade that Egypt has lavished large amounts of capital.
At the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, they had a retrospective exhibition of the prominent Egyptian sculpter Ahmed Abdel-Wahab (born in 1932) and I thought I would share. Abdel-Wahab is an eminent figure among contemporary Egyptian sculptors. He devoted his artistic experience in pursuit of a contemporary character to be the model of a pure Egyptian sculpture. The character of Akhenaton attracted his attention with its contemplative noble features and firm piety Abdel-Wahab epitomized Akhenaton in different forms, in which he maintained the essence of contemplation and human piety. He created large and small-scale sculptures, as well as a relief sculpture with extensive attention to ornamentation. He also created rhythmical sculpture compounds in which he linked the triangular andrhombus-shaped masses together by colorful lines. The artist also resorted to abbreviating the details to emphasize the mass and achieve dramatic shadowy projections, which emphasize the idea of holiness and mysticism. In creating these pieces of art, the artist used many materials, like pottery, stone, and polyester withmetal. He was awarded the State Merit Award for art in 2002.
The famous burning of the Library of Alexandria, including the incalculable loss of ancient works, has become a symbol of the irretrievable loss of public knowledge. Although there is a mythology of “the burning of the Library at Alexandria”, the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction of varying degrees over many years. The Bibliotecha Alexandrina in Egypt is a tribute to the original Library of Alexandria lost in antiquity. The library has books in Arabic, English, and French. It is the largest repository of French books in the Arab world, and has an Espresso Book Machine, which offers print on demand books. There is also an internet archive. The Library of Alexandria was reborn in October 2002 to reclaim the mantle of its ancient namesake. It is not just an extraordinarily beautiful building; it is also a vast complex where the arts, history, philosophy, and science come together. Moreover, the many activities it offers have made it a place for open discussion, dialogue, and understanding.
Pompey's Pillar is a Roman triumphal column in Alexandria, Egypt, and the largest of its type constructed outside the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople. The only known free-standing column in Roman Egypt which was not composed of drums, it is one of the largest ancient monoliths and one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected. The monolithic column shaft measures 67 feet (20.46 meters) in height with a diameter of almost 8 feet (2.71 meters) at its base. The weight of this single piece of red Aswan granite is estimated at 285 tons. When you include the base and capital, it is 88 feet (26.85) tall, just over half the width of a football field or 12 stories high. In the middle ages the Crusaders mistakenly believed that the ashes, or the remains, of the great Roman general Pompey were in a pot at the top of the column. Thus today it is called “Pompey's Pillar”. Erroneously dated to the time of Pompey, the Corinthian column was actually built in 297 CE, commemorating the victory of Roman emperor Diocletian over an Alexandrian revolt. The size and weight of the column (it is really huge up close) is probably the reason it has been preserved from antiquity.
When I was in Alexandria, we visited the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, an ancient necropolis during Ptolomaic and Roman times. Due to the time period, many of the features of the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa merge Roman, Ancient Macedonian, Greek and Egyptian cultural points; some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hair style while other features share a similar style. The catacombs were named Kom El Shoqafa, meaning Mound of Shards, because the area used to contain a mound of shards of terra cotta which mostly consisted of jars and objects made of clay. These objects were left by those visiting the tombs, who would bring food and wine for their consumption during the visit. However, they did not wish to carry these containers home from this place of death so they would break them. At the time of the discovery, heaps of these broken plates were found.