The Pearl of the Mediterranean
Alexandria was the greatest city of the ancient world at the time of the early Ptolemies. It remained the capital of Egypt for nearly a millennium since its foundation by Alexander the Great in 331 BC till the Arab conquest in AD 641. The city was completed under the reign of Ptolemy II (285 - 246 BC). It was designed by the Greek architect Dinocrates of Rhodes, who connected the mainland (narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean and Lake Mareotis) with the island of Pharos by a dyke "Heptastadion", thus creating Eastern and Western Ports. The layout of the city was like a chess-board, in which there were two main roads intersecting at right angles, and the side streets ran parallel to these perpendicular axes. Alexandria was the site of the famous Lighthouse, the legendary Library, and the Museion (Research Institution, which was the home of scientists, philosophers and scholars from all over the world). The remains of the ancient city can be mainly found in private cemeteries, temples, Roman theatre, as well as underwater antiquities in the Eastern Harbour.