The pharaonic Anfushi Tombs in Alexandria, Egypt date back to around 250 BC, and are located on a spit of land that was once an island known as Pharos Island.
Egypt has enough historical sites to keep even the most enthusiastic of travelers busy for many weeks, or even for many months. Every year, millions of tourists from around the globe go to Egypt to see the infamous pyramids; ancient temples and the many tombs which still remain to this day.
With so many fantastic places to see, where does one even begin such a journey of discovery? This is a question which is not easily answered, but if you are somewhat pressed for time, then Alexandria in the northern part of the country would be a great place to include since it offers visitors a chance to experience a number of Egypt’s historical periods all in one place.
While Alexandria has many fascinating attractions, no visit to the area would be complete without a trip to the ancient pharaonic Anfushi Tombs.
Alexandria – A Fusion Of Historical Periods
During its ancient history, Alexandria has been ruled by a number of different cultures, including the Greeks and the Roman, and to this day, it is something you can’t fail to notice when you stroll through the streets. For example, you’ll see buildings and monuments bearing testimony to Greek rule; to Roman rule; to European rule, and even some Mediterranean influence. It’s also fascinating to know that Alexandra was home to Egypt’s last ancient Pharaoh, and also the birthplace of Cleopatra.
Many people book a Nile River cruise in order to see some of the most famous tourist attractions in Egypt, and admittedly, this most certainly is an unforgettable experience, but it just isn’t the same as exploring the area on foot of by car. Actually getting out there amongst the people of Alexandria is the best way to explore this wonderful place, and it’s the most convenient way for visiting the ancient Anfushi Tombs.
A Brief History Of The Anfushi Tombs
The Anfushi Tombs were originally built in approximately 250 BC, towards the end of the Ptolemaic period, and just prior to the Roman period. Because of this, the tombs exhibit both Greek and Roman influence. For instance, once inside the tombs, you’ll see Greek art, but you’ll also see plenty of Roman influence, including things like statues of the Sphinx and etc.
The Anfushi Tombs are actually five individual tombs, although all five are in fact interconnected. The first tomb was discovered in 1901, while the remaining four were discovered during the years that followed, with the fifth tomb only being discovered in 1921
All five of these tombs are below ground level. They are essentially subterranean tombs that were carved out of the existing limestone rock. Today, the tombs are accessible from the esplanade located in front of the Ras El-Tin Palace.
Because the tombs were carved out of the native limestone, they were later all painted in a manner which makes them look as though they have been built from marble and alabaster, since marble and alabaster were incredibly popular amongst the Greeks and the Romans.
Each of the tombs has a similar sort of design, in that they all have impressive vaulted ceilings; beautiful murals and fascinating frescos. One of the five tombs also has a central courtyard, complete with a hole carved out of the ceiling which offers a view of the skies above.
The Anfushi Tombs are located in an area of the city which is notorious for its shortage of parking spaces, so you might want to consider parking your vehicle a short distance from the tombs, and then covering the last bit of distance on foot. If you park near the Qaitbay district, you’ll find there is a very nice aquarium nearby which is actually also worth a visit.
Walking to the tombs from the Qaitbay district is also nice because you’ll have a fantastic view of the Eastern Harbor, and when you reach the tombs, don’t forget to remind yourself that the area where you are standing was once surrounded by water and known a Pharos Island.
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