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July 24, 2005
From journal Day Trip to Alexandria
November 4, 2002
To get to the Catacombs, it is probably best to take a taxi; just say Kom Ash-shuqafa. It should cost about 5-6 LE from most places on the Eastern Harbor. You can also walk there by continuing south-west from the Misr Train Station, past Pompey's Pillar. It will take about 10 minutes.
The Catacombs are only open until 4:00 so make sure you get there in time; I suggest early morning when it will be less crowded. The entrance fee is 12 LE (6 student) but you will have to pay 10 LE if you want to use your camera, which may not be necessary. Once you enter, head straight back to the Rotunda and climb down the spiral staircase. This will lead you to the main set of tombs in the Catacombs. Here you will see the triclinium, where feasts were held, a large chamber of tombs, as well as the main tomb. The main tomb is the most impressive, with an entrance that combines Roman and Ancient Egyptian architecture. The tombs are dark, have an interesting smell, and are fairly creepy. If you go back from towards the Rotunda and head towards the left, you will enter the Hall of Caracalla where the champion race horses were buried. There are some interesting wall paintings that combine the images from Egyptian, Greek and Roman beliefs on death.
Back up on the surface, towards the entrance, there is a nice tomb that has been restored with color. The Catacombs aren't that large, they should take about an hour, but they are very interesting, and there is really no need for a guide, as everything is marked.
From journal Alexandria: The Perfect Break From Cairo