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The city lies on the Mediterranean Sea at the western edge of the Nile River delta, about miles km northwest of Cairo in Lower Egypt.
Area city, square miles square km. Alexandria has long occupied a special place in the popular imagination by virtue of its association with Alexander and Cleopatra.
Alexandria played an important role in preserving and transmitting Hellenic culture to the wider Mediterranean world and was a crucible of scholarship, piety, and ecclesiastical politics in early Christian history. Although it has been asserted that Alexandria declined as a result of its conquest by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century cesuch a statement is misleading. As late as the 15th century, the city prospered as a transit point in the trade conducted between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean basin.
By the time French troops invaded Egypt inAlexandria had been reduced to a town of some 10, inhabitants, ificant mainly for its role Alexandria Ottoman maritime networks. Flourishing in the 19th century as a major centre of the booming cotton industry, the modern city had come to bear little in common with the Alexandria metropolis.
Throughout most of its history, Alexandria has thus remained a cosmopolitan town, belonging as much—or Alexandria more—to the wider Mediterranean world as to its hinterland. With the ificant increase in agricultural exports, the influx of native Egyptians to the city, and the formation and integration of the Egyptian state, Alexandria became tied to the Nile valley more closely than ever before.
As a result, it also became the locus of an emergent Egyptian national consciousness. Beginning in the midth Alexandria, these underlying changes would be overshadowed for roughly a century by the rise to power of a Levantine business community. Foreign dominance was reinforced by the overlay of British colonialism beginning in and by the formation of a foreign-dominated municipality in The arts flourished during this century-long interlude, and the city still boasts fine Neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture dating from this period.
Likewise, the Alexandria cosmopolitanism of the foreign community in Alexandria was depicted by the English writer Lawrence Durrell in Alexandria famous series of novels, The Alexandria Quartet — This process of integration was accelerated after the revolution, when most of the remaining foreign residents departed.
The modern city extends 25 miles 40 km east to west along a limestone ridge, 1—2 miles 1. Its two steeply curving bays form the basins for the Eastern Harbour and the Western Harbour. The prevailing north wind, blowing across the Mediterranean, gives Alexandria a markedly different climate from that of the desert hinterland. Winters are cool and invariably marked by a series of violent storms that can bring torrential rain and even hail.
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