Alexandria (1 of 2)
The city of Alexandria (Al-Iskendariyya) is the stuff that legends are made of: the city was founded by none other than Alexander the Great; sassy queen Cleopatra made this the seat of her throne; the entrance to its harbour was marked by the towering Pharos lighthouse (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World); and its Great Library of Alexandria was renowned as the ultimate archive of ancient knowledge.
Today, even though the city plays second fiddle to Cairo, modern Alexandria feels like a teenager eager to forge its own identity. The daring new library of Alexandria signalled a brave leap into modernity, the first tentative steps of a city ready to revamp itself for the future. This town is also swooping in on the role of Egypt's culture vulture — legions of young artists and writers are finding their voices and new cutting-edge venues are providing a stage for their prolific output.