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Old August 30th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #1
hkskyline
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Egypt's Alexandria Seeks Second Revival

FEATURE-Egypt's Alexandria seeks second revival

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Alexandria, the Egyptian coastal city where Cleopatra had love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, is trying to regain some of its old glory as a tourism destination for European and Arab elites.

This summer, a new luxury hotel opened on the site of a grand old establishment where where Austrian archdukes and Egyptian khedives would gather for Viennese pastries or tennis a century ago.

Last year a multi-storey mall with brands such as Guess and LaSenza opened to the public, and the city is building a new international airport to meet demand from tourists.

With Egypt's economy recording its third consecutive year of gross domestic product growth over 5 percent, an oil-fuelled boom in Gulf economies bringing more tourists, and European economies strong, the city is already enjoying some success.

"Alexandria has been so neglected over the past decades but there is a still a lot of nostalgia for the way it used to be," said Stephan Killinger, manager of the new Four Seasons San Stefano hotel.

The hotel, built overlooking the Mediterranean on the model of its famous predecessor, has been sold out since opening in July, Killinger said.

"We're trying to recreate the feeling of the original San Stefano," Killinger said of the new 118-room hotel, where a marina is under construction to accommodate guests arriving from Europe by sea.

The San Stefano Mall, a short walk from the city's Mediterranean beaches, is bustling with Egyptian shoppers and some Gulf tourists on an August afternoon.

"Our business is up about 25 percent this year due to all the investments in Alexandria and the north coast," said Tamer Hashem, manager of Diamond House SAE, one of many jewellery shops in the mall.

A SECOND REVIVAL

Founded by Alexander the Great, the city was the world's centre of learning for the 300 years before the birth of Christ. Ships visiting the city's harbour were searched for manuscripts to contribute to its 500,000-scroll library.

Destroyed by fire and earthquakes, most of the ancient city now lies under the sea.

Alexandria was revived in the 19th century and early 20th century as a European-style city, with villas and palaces overlooking the sea, funded by profits from Egypt's cotton trade.

The San Stefano hotel casino was one of its landmarks, built in the style of the resorts along the French coast.

The city has spent millions over the past decade restoring its infrastructure. Although it has always attracted Egyptians on summer holidays, it still accounts for only a small fraction of Egypt's expanding foreign tourist market.

Just seven or eight years ago, a walk down the Corniche, or sea front, was marred by falling buildings, said Fathi Nour, chairman of the Egyptian Hotel Association.

The new international airport will be able to handle 1.5 million passengers a year and 30 flights a day when finished in 2009, said Said Khallaf, the airport's general manager.

Now the city attracts about half a million passengers a year and uses an old military base for international flights.

"There are more flights coming here from the Gulf, Europe, and even Asia," Khallaf said.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #2
PedroGabriel
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I'm starting to wonder what tourism is, it's hotels or the place?!
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Old August 30th, 2007, 07:52 PM   #3
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good for the city though
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Old December 16th, 2007, 01:40 PM   #4
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I'm sure glad alexandria is building a new international airport. the El Nouzha Airport is totally inadequate and Borg el Arab Airport is to build a completely new terminal having a capacity of 2,500,000 passengers per annum at a cost of $97,000,000 US.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #5
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Come on, guys. This Alexandria second revival issue is not a boring topic. Alexandria just needs to boost its tourism.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #6
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Malls Something more unique and cultural please.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 01:44 PM   #7
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Alexandria probably has no existing malls. I wonder if there are any shopping malls in Cairo.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #8
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Do they really think that people will go to Egypt to look at it's malls?
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Old June 19th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #9
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The article does not say that Alexandria is solely building new shopping malls in order attract (foreign) tourists. Why do people often jump to completely one-sided conclusions?

Like many other cities in the world Alexandria is trying to strike a balance between upgrading its infrastructure, building new facilities and preserving its heritage.

I am personally quiet interested in Alexandria’s development since I have been to Cairo once. The symbiosis of ‘old world charm’ and orient, the history of the city and the alleged progressive attitude of its inhabitants are enough to put the city on my “must-visit list”.


Here are some impressions of Alexandria:


image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/meeso/1904427487/sizes/l/
San Stefano – Hotel & Shopping Complex (just in case: this monster complex is located quiet far away from the 'old' centre)

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_p...85516/sizes/o/
Contemporary Bibliotheca Alexandria


Some old stuff

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_p...89278/sizes/o/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/upyerno...49835/sizes/l/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmf164/2578250459/sizes/l/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanlyde...96699/sizes/l/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/torie/47186098/sizes/l/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hronika/458947613/sizes/o/

©Courtesy of flickr
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Last edited by Mercutio; June 19th, 2008 at 04:47 PM.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 11:31 PM   #10
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Wow great looking city. Reminds me of Havanna.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 12:03 AM   #11
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wow i want to go there
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Old June 20th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #12
Langur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koen Acacia View Post
Do they really think that people will go to Egypt to look at it's malls?
They do in Dubai.

Alexandria already has lots of history and cultural attractions aplenty. It needs to offer more in way of modern services however. New airports, malls, hotels etc are part of that drive.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 09:18 AM   #13
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Well it certainly has potential...
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 12:42 AM   #14
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Damn, they certainly have a lot with which to work.
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Old April 15th, 2016, 02:13 PM   #15
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On Alexandria's Fouad Street, some have a longing for the elegant past
Excerpt

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, March 22 (Reuters) - Along Fouad Street, a Costa coffee shop near old buildings with Italian and French architecture reminds Egyptians that commercial ventures threaten to erase traces of Alexandria's aristocratic past.

Named after King Fouad I, who died in 1936, the street is a throwback to a time when the arts flourished in a cosmopolitan city that is now overcrowded and dilapidated like many of Egypt's urban centres.

Some, like architect and urban planning teacher Ahmed Hassan, are pushing to preserve some relics of the bygone era while keeping pace with growing businesses - the goal of his "Save Alex" initiative, launched in 2012.

"We aim to try to find a balance between civil society and profit-driven private sector to protect the heritage buildings from getting demolished," Hassan told Reuters.

"We want a system where all stake holders agree on a system to keep the heritage."

In the past, the city founded by Alexander the Great and once considered the jewel of the Mediterranean, featured a fusion of communities - Greek, Italians, Armenians, Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Fouad Street is the most potent symbol of Alexandria's grand history, with its elegant villas and antique shops.

A Reuters photo essay captures some of Fouad Street's past glory at http://reut.rs/21Faim7 .

At a car repair shop once used to service the monarch's vehicles, for example, mechanics work over cars from the 1930s and 1960s.

Sigma, a company with a branch that has been investing in heritage building, hopes to keep some of the magic of the past turning a profit at the same time.

CEO Laithy Mekawy was influenced by the three years he spent as an architect in Istanbul, where he observed the restoration of historic buildings.

He turned a television company on the ground floor of the old Société Immobiliére building, an 1928 Neo-Renaissance structure, into "L Passage", a food and cafes court with well known brands.

"I've always loved walking on a Friday morning on Fouad street," Laithy said, describing the weekend day in predominantly Muslim Egypt.

"The beauty of the old architectural buildings, the opera house and the arts centre have kept its beauty for years."

COSMOPOLITAN PAST

Fouad is one of the oldest streets in Alexandria, featuring landmarks such as a centre that used to house the Mohamed Ali club - named for a past king - built near the British forces base in Alexandria during late 19th century.

On the other end of the long street is a statue of Alexander the Great, a present from the Greek government on the occasion of the opening of Bibliotheca Alexandria library and cultural centre.

British novelist and travel writer Laurence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet, lived on the street, as did Greek poet Constantine Cavafy.

After the Free Officers toppled the monarchy in 1952, multicultural communities that helped turn Alexandria into a modern city began fleeing, and the aristocracy had no place in the city among widespread nationalisations.

Some long for the old days.
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