Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, Alexandria became a center of trade and learning in the ancient world. Alexander built the causeway between the Eastern and Western Harbors, joining Pharos Island (arrow) to the mainland. Alexandria’s cultural status was symbolized by the lighthouse on Pharos, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” The causeway is still known as the old part of the modern city. Since the year 2000, underwater archeologists have located the sunken palace, ceremonial buildings and port facilities of ancient Alexandria, located along most of the curved southern shoreline of the Eastern Harbor.
The Eastern Harbor was the main port in the Middle Ages. This detailed image taken by Space Station crew members using an 800-mm lens provides a view of the modern port facilities in the Western Harbor, where wharves and many moored ships can be detected. The lower box indicates the part of the city where the famous Library of Alexandria was located, and also where Alexander the Great may be buried. The upper box indicates the entertainment quarter where literary figures from the Middle East and Europe have worked. A wider view of the city was taken from the International Space Station in December 2000.