This masterful history of the monumental architecture of Alexandria, as well as of the rest of Egypt, encompasses an entire millennium-from the city's founding by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. to the years just after the Islamic conquest of A.D. 642. Long considered lost beyond recall, the architecture of ancient Alexandria has until now remained mysterious. But here Judith McKenzie shows that it is indeed possible to reconstruct the city and many of its buildings by means of meticulous exploration of archaeological remains, written sources, and an array of other fragmentary evidence.
The book approaches its subject at the macro- and the micro-level: from city-planning, building types, and designs to architectural style. It addresses the interaction between the imported Greek and native Egyptian traditions; the relations between the architecture of Alexandria and the other cities and towns of Egypt as well as the wider Mediterranean world; and Alexandria's previously unrecognized role as a major source of architectural innovation and artistic influence. Lavishly illustrated with new plans of the city in the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Byzantine periods; reconstruction drawings; and photographs, the book brings to life the ancient city and uncovers the true extent of its architectural legacy in the Mediterranean world.