Our first stop is The Mosque.
The Attarine Mosque is located in the middle of this unique area, on Attarine Mosque Street. Originally a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius in 370 AD it was converted into a small mosque, which was built up and eventually became known as tAfter lunch we continue our tour of Alexandria. As a special add on bonus our guide decides to take us to a couple of places which aren't on our agenda. He is a true lover of history and I have to admit his enthusiasm is contagious.
he Mosque of a Thousand Columns.
Men enter by the elaborate front entrance but women must enter by the side door. I know this is an age-old cultural practice but it offends me. As it turns out I can’t go in at all as I don’t have anything to cover my head….ahhh maybe its just as well.
I content myself with viewing the exterior which is very ornate. A Spanish architect designed it and even our inexperienced eye can see the Spanish influence.Surrounding the Mosque is an ancient market place. It looked interesting but our guide was impacient for us to move along.
Nest we visit El Salamalik Palace
Originally it was built as a hunting lodge for Khidive Abbas Helmi 11 and his Hungro- Austrian mistress .The grounds were stocked with game for his hunting enjoyment. Later his son, King Farouk used the lodge as his summer palace.
Surrounding the Palace we find what once were the private gardens of the King known as the Montazah Gardens. Today they are enjoyed by the public as a park . They really aren’t spectacular, maybe I was expecting too much but they are a pleasant place to stroll.
The palace has been converted to an elaborate 5 star hotel with about 20 rooms. Prices start at $120.00 per night.Situated overlooking the bay, I think this would be a wonderful and romantic place to spend a honeymoon.
Our final stop today is at the Catacomb of Komel – Shokafa
Here we descend several floors into the damp dark cavern, which was the buriel chamber for the royals. Even though the Greeks didn’t believe in an afterlife they maintained the chambers to show respect.
On the main level there is a stone bench and a sort of gathering place for family members. Here families gathered sharing drinks and fond memories of the recently departed. They broke their cups when they finished drinking so as not to bring bad luck away with them . As a result, hills of glass were later discovered here and the place was named Mountain of Glass.
Remarkably it was a donkey who found these ancient chambers by chance. He was digging in a heap of mud after the a rain and fell through the deep hole. As pictures are not allowed here , I have only my memories to take away with me.