The Dean at the Faculty of Commerce welcomed us to Alexandria by providing a car and driver to enable us to sightsee in the city. Our first stop was the Alexandria National Museum. No photos were allowed, so no show and tell, but it provided an interesting history of the city including a number of artifacts that fishermen discovered in the waters just off shore in the Mediterranean.
Some reference to mad dogs and Englishmen would be appropriate for our mid-day, unshaded second stop, the small, but well-preserved, second century A.D. Roman theatre and auditoria. One can still stand in the theatre’s “sweet spot” and appreciate the acoustical accuracy of its construction. There are also remains of a larger, expanded theater and Roman baths. Alexandria’s fame is from its importance in the Greco-Roman era (the lighthouse and the library) as opposed to the more ancient Egyptian Pharaonic periods.
We then traveled along the Corniche, a broad boulevard that runs along the seacoast, to the Montazah, the grounds of the former palace of King Farouk (who was forced to abdicate after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.) The property includes an enormous garden and the former palace and hunting lodge. The garden is open to the public and provides ample shaded areas to escape from the sun. The former palace is currently a presidential residence; although I suppose that means it’s currently unoccupied. While you can take photos of the exterior and grounds of the palace, it is not open to the public. The former hunting lodge, however, has been converted into El Salamlek Palace Hotel & Casino, a luxury hotel renovated in a style reminiscent of the era of the former king.’
To cap off the day, I finally met with my congenial new colleagues at the Faculty of Commerce at Alexandria University.