[Alexandria, Cobra Boulevard]
Almost outdoing the gigantic temples lining the outer wall of Alexandria by sheer design and style, the Library of Alexandria sits in a copse of palm trees in its own little oasis to the west. The great building houses all the knowledge of the modern world and is frequented by students, teachers and experts alike as a place to share and learn. Greece may be the center of philosophy and thought in the known world, but Alexandria holds the title on pure, unadulterated enlightenment. You also see a small arch leading to the Library Grounds.

Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and one of the largest ports in our ancient world. Best known, perhaps, for its library and mouseion (museum), this city has also become the information capital of the world. People from all over make their way to Alexandria to peruse the thousands upon thousands of scrolls in the library and some even decide to stay, lodging at the mouseion with the other scholars in pursuit of academics and technology via the vast bastion of information that rivals any other library in the world.

The city was founded and named after Alexander the Great around 334 BC. While it wasn't the best place to found a city, he saw its viability as a major world power and sketched out his plan, leaving it in the capable hands of Deinocrates of Rhodes, Alexandria's chief architect.

Alexander is, in fact, buried in Alexandria in a building known as the Soma (literally: The Body). It was not his initial resting place, however, as he died in Babylon on June 10/11, 323 BC at 32 years of age from some mysterious illness (possibly malaria or even poisoning). His body was then interred there, but was later stolen by Ptolemy who had it brought to Alexandria and put in the Soma. The body was displayed for years after in its original sarcophagus until Ptolemy IX replaced it with a glass one, melting the other down to issue emergency coinage.

Alexandria also plays host the the Lighthouse of Alexandria, now known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, with its multi-tiered towers rising high in the sky to warn ships of the sharp reefs surrounding the port. This is necessary as Alexandria is also a center for world trade… a fact that perhaps has lent itself to making the library as successful as it is.

The pharoahs very early on decided to require all ships coming into port to turn over any scrolls or other documents they had for the library. They would have scribes make copies, keep the originals, and then send the ships on their way with the copies. The librarians also make a point of sending people to far off lands in search of rare books to add, sometimes paying a king's ransom for a single scroll.

The mouseion is a large three-story building connected to the library that served as a sort of university for the resident scholars. Most stayed in the mouseion and were even supported by the pharoahs in return for their discoveries and achievements. The mouseion was really just a large complex of rooms with great forums for speakers and workshops for engineers to build their inventions. A zoo and garden were attached so that they might observe nature and make advancements in herbology and the like. An entire wing was dedicated by Rome to advancements in military strategy and weaponry.

South of Alexandria lies Lake Maryut which itself is surrounded by a series of five small fishing villages. South leads to naught but desert until you hit Cairo, but directly east is the Nile Valley. A small island is situated to the north of Alexandria off the coast, just east of the lighthouse. This island is known as Antirrhodos. The island upon which the lighthouse is built is called Pharos.

Antirrhodos is the site of the palace of Alexandria. The island is perfectly situated so that it may act as both a guard to the harbor as well as residence for the pharoah. The small island was nearly a city in itself, with its own crops and farms and a resident staff that did all the cooking and cleaning for the rulers. The island even held a small army with many watchposts and towers situated on the east side of the island where they might overlook incomming ships. A barge was used to transport the pharoah back and forth from Antirrhodos to Alexandria.

Other points of interest include the two theaters (a vast Roman one and the smaller Ptolemaic), the royal and Ptolomean Necropolis and the Kom es-Shawqafa, a labyrinth of rock tunnels cut beneath the city. Alexandria built upon itself several times, so the houses of Alexandrias past are literally still beneath what is there today. It is possible the Kom es-Shawqafa may be a part of a previous Alexandria upon which the one we see sits.


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