As part of its mission to document and preserve the tangible heritage, the BA Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center (Alex Med) constructs models of vanished and endangered buildings. The data used to create these, is obtained from a number of sources including archeological remains and historical documents.
The Pharos of Alexandria
The ancient lighthouse, or Pharos of Alexandria, was erected during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus between 283–279 BCE. The earliest known description of it was made by the Greek historian and geographer, Strabo, who visited Alexandria in about 30 BCE. In modern times, the detailed description of this monument made by German architect Hermann Tiersch in 1906 has also contributed to our knowledge of the Pharos. Alex Med has constructed four models of the Pharos showing different stages of deterioration.
The Cotton and Stock Exchange of Alexandria, known as the Bourse, originally dominated the eastern end of the Place des Consuls (later renamed Mohamed Ali Square). In 1977 however, the building burnt down during riots, and was finally completely demolished in 1982.
The town of Taposiris Magna, known in Arabic as Abu Sir, was founded in around 280–270 BCE by Ptolemy II Philadelphus about 45 kilometers to the west of Alexandria along the northern shore of Lake Mareotis. Its great temple, of which only the impressive outside walls remain standing today, was once an important cult center of the gods Osiris and Isis. Opposite the temple, stands the stone tower built in Greco-Roman times, known today as Borg El Arab. This tower, which is a small replica of the ancient Pharos of Alexandria, is thought to have been a watch tower or a lighthouse.
The Mosque of One Thousand Columns
It is believed that the site of this mosque was once occupied by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, and is where a group of Jewish scholars translated the Torah from Hebrew into Greek. In about 282–300 CE, the Church of Saint Athanasius was erected on this site by Pope Theonas and later transformed into the larger Church of the Virgin Mary. By the sixth century the church was in ruins and it was replaced by the Mosque of One Thousand Columns during the Muslim conquest of Egypt. This mosque, also known as the Western Mosque, was built by Amr Ibn El Aas.
This scale model of ancient Alexandria is based upon the 1866 map by Mahmoud El Falaki. The streets are laid out in a grid pattern. The two main arteries are the Canopic Way (corresponding to Fouad Street today) which extends from east to west, and the Soma, extending from north to south. This reconstruction includes the Island of Pharos and the Heptastation which connects it to the mainland. The model also shows public buildings and the ancient and Arab city walls.
Saint Catherine Cistern
As Alexandria lacked a reliable fresh water supply, underground cisterns were built, which were replenished annually by the Nile floodwaters distributed through the city's aqueducts. The Saint Catherine Cistern is an example of one of these reservoirs.
The Roman House
This is a reconstruction of a typical Roman house dating from the fourth century CE. This house, situated in Kom El Dikka, was located near public buildings including an amphitheater, baths, water cisterns and schools. Built from stone, it consisted of two storeys with a central courtyard.
The Serapeum was built during the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–221 BCE), on a hill to the west of the city just outside the ancient Ptolemaic city boundary, in what is today Kom El Shogafa district. The Alex Med scale model is a reconstruction of the Serapeum built under the Romans. The Serapeum included underground passages and a sister library to the Library of Alexandria. Today, the only element which remains standing intact is Diocletian’s column, erroneously referred to as Pompey's Pillar.