Alexandria Sights

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Pompey's Pillar (Serapium Oracle)

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Pompey's Pillar (Serapium Oracle) Review

Despite being Alexandria's most famous tourist sight, Pompey's Pillar is a disappointment. After all, it's just a granite pillar—albeit at 88 feet, a very tall one—placed on a hill surrounded by ruins. Known in Arabic as al-'Amud al-Sawiri (Column of the Horseman), the pillar was misnamed after Pompeius (106–48 BC) by the Crusaders. In fact, it dates to the 3rd century AD, when it was erected in honor of the emperor Diocletian on the site of a Ptolemaic temple to Serapis.

Helpful signs on the ruins name each virtually empty spot as a "pool" or "bath," which to the untrained eye look like indistinguishable rocks. The late-model sphinxes lying around on pedestals add a little character. The most interesting element, ironically, is that from the hill you can get a glimpse inside the walled cemetery next door, as well as a view of a long and busy market street.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Corner of Amoud El Sawary and El Shenity Abou Mandour, Karmouz, Alexandria, 21566
  • Phone: 03/482–5800
  • Cost: E20
  • Hours: Daily 9–4
  • Location: Downtown and Raml Station

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    Pompey's Pillar Review

    I think the neighborhood alone is worth the trek to Pompey's Pillar. It's an interesting quarter with a lot of hustle-bustle but not too prosperous. The sight itself has a very modern and clean reception area - the women's bathroom was very clean. Although there isn't too much to see, what there is helps you imagine what the Roman Alexandria must have been like.

    by jahlie, 4/22/11

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