Culture And Media

Egypt: Ancient El-Alamein port open to the public

El-Alamein, 18 August (AKI) - The ancient Greco-Roman port of Marina el-Alamein in northern Egypt will open to the public in mid-September after years of restoration and development, culture minister Farouk Honsy announced.

The ancient port is believed to have been built during the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) and the archaeological site includes Roman villas and baths, Greco-Roman markets, the remains of a church, a Roman theatre, tombs and streets.

The whole site will be lit up at night (photo) by a high tech lighting system, Honsy said. It will be open to visitors in the evening as well as during the day.

"El-Alamein was once the most important and well-known port during the Greco-Roman era and it is the first archaeological site on the north coast to be developed as a tourist- friendly site," said Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The SCA is in the process of restoring archaeological sites all along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, which the government wants to develop as a tourist destination.

The Marina el-Alamein site was accidentally discovered in 1986 during digging to build the new, upscale Marina El-Alamein resort located around 4 kilometres from the port city of El-Alamein in Matruh Governorate.

The Greco-Romans named the ancient port was 'Locassis' meaning white shell, owing to its white sand, said Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, head of Lower Egypt's central administration.

” It got this name because of the softness and the white color of its sand. The goddess of love, Aphrodite, was worshipped there and the statues found of her on the site show her emerging from a white shell, in reference to its name," Maqsoud said.

El-Alamein was the site of two famous World War II battles in 1942 against Germany and the Axis powers. It houses a war museum and visitors can also go to the Italian, British and German military cemeteries just outside the town.




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