Where Was Alexandria in Ancient Times?

Alexandria, a city that is now one of the largest cities in Egypt, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The city was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE and was established as the capital of his empire.

But where exactly was Alexandria located in ancient times? Let’s delve into this intriguing topic.

The Location of Ancient Alexandria

Alexandria was located on the Mediterranean coast, in the Nile Delta region of Egypt. The city was strategically placed at the western edge of the Delta, where it met the Mediterranean Sea. This location made it an important center for trade and commerce, as it facilitated communication between Europe and Africa.

Foundation of Alexandria

Alexander the Great founded Alexandria after he conquered Egypt from Persia. The site he chose for his new city was previously an obscure fishing village called Rakotis.

According to legend, Alexander consulted an oracle who advised him to establish his capital at this location. He then ordered his architect Dinocrates to plan and design the city.

Features of Ancient Alexandria

One of the most impressive features of ancient Alexandria was its harbor, which was one of the largest and most sophisticated ports in the world at that time. The harbor could accommodate up to 1,000 ships and provided access to trade routes that extended throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

Another notable feature of ancient Alexandria was its famous lighthouse or Pharos. This lighthouse stood over 130 meters tall and guided ships into the harbor at night with its bright beacon light.

The Importance of Alexandria

Alexandria quickly became a significant center for learning and knowledge in ancient times. It housed one of the largest libraries in the world – The Library of Alexandria – which contained over 700,000 books. Scholars from all over traveled to study there, making it an intellectual hub during the Hellenistic period.


In conclusion, Alexandria was located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, in the Nile Delta region. It was founded by Alexander the Great and was strategically placed for trade and commerce.

Its impressive harbor and iconic lighthouse made it a significant center for maritime activity, while its library made it an intellectual hub. Alexandria remains a city of great importance to this day, with its rich history and cultural significance.