The Kom al-Shoqafa Catacombs and Pompey’s Pillar

Alexandria’s evocative catacombs, known as Kom al-Shoqafa, consist of a multi-level labyrinth featuring dozens of chambers adorned with sculpted pillars, statues, and other syncretic Romano-Egyptian religious symbols, burial niches and sarcophagi, as well as a large banquet room, where memorial meals were conducted by relatives of the deceased. In addition, the most extensive ancient excavation currently being conducted in Alexandria has revealed what is known as Kom al-Dikka, the ancient city’s well-preserved theater. Our visits to these sites will be led by Dr. Kyriakos Savvopoulos.

The Alexandria National Museum

This impressive museum displays some of the most extraordinary archeological finds made in and around the city during the past decade. Artifacts from the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras can be seen. These include a diorite sphinx, a priest of Isis carrying a Canopic jar, the head of Briniky, wife of Ptolemy II, and Coptic stellae and friezes carved with lions, sheep and grapevines.

A Tour of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria

Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet of novels immortalized the city in its cosmopolitan prime between the World Wars when a vast, multi-ethnic, international community was integrated into a vibrant and sophisticated Egyptian and Mediterranean culture. Follow in the footsteps of Justine, Balthazar, Clea and other characters from the Quartet, one of the most unforgettable conjurations of the soul of a city in twentieth century literature.

The Monastery of Abu Mina

The monastery of St. Menas, an hour outside Alexandria, was one of the most important sites for pilgrims in the Byzantine era. The saint was an Egyptian-born Roman legionary martyred in 296 CE. Ruins of the ancient monastery and pilgrim town remain, while the belfry and high walls of the current monastery are visible from miles around.

We plan as well to meet with democracy activist who were intimately involved in the brilliant non violent revolution that has ushered in this new era in Egypt. We hope also to meet with some of Egypt’s large Sufi community.