Thanks to our driver our trip which was to take 3 hours turned out to be a short 2 hours .It was a great highway , but I wouldn’t want to drive it as the rules were somewhat chaotic!!This road was once called Desert Highway . Today you can’t really see the desert thanks to the discovery of an underground water source. Our guide tells us , cities sprung up overnight and we can even see farmland here.
Along the way we see fields of corn , grapes, citrus and of course dates. We also noticed these strange little houses that looked like bird house condos! They are actually pigeon houses. Locals raise pigeons for food.
For a break we stop at what had to be the weirdest restaurant ever. It is a combination of restaurant and mini zoo. We saw ostrich , lions, and monkeys to name a few . All were held in cages , so sad . They also had huge stone ovens where they made these hage crisp pies. They smelled delicious but we passed as the whole zoo concept just took away our appetite. Filthy bathrooms completed the picture!!
Alexandria lies 220 km across the Western Desert from Cairo. Named for Alexander the Great this ancient city was originally founded in 331 BC. Its hard to imagine but for years in laid buried under the desert sands and actually some is still buried under the sea. A "new" city was eventually built on top of ancient Alexandria by Mohammid Ali the Ottoman Governor of egypt in 1801.
Today Alexandria is a mix of cultures including Greek , Roman and Egytion. There is a rich and a very poor population but not much in between. On the east side of the city we see spectacular mansions, wide blvds and hotels . In stark contrast the west side of the city in a dusty rubble with heaps of trash everywhere.
All that remains of this huge temple is one huge red granite pillar, two sphinx and some ruins.
The temple was built in 207AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian . It is called Pompeii’s Pillar as it was once thought to be his temple…an idea that has been disproven.
We take our time exploring the area with our guide. He points out the cleansing baths area of the temple,where priests would bathe before entering. We also see various ancient monuments including those of Ramses 11 and ancient Christian artifacts . We were interested to learn the temple was converted to a Cathedral during Roman times.