A series of Ptolemaic buildings and a tunnel unearthed in Alexandria, Egypt

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21 years of excavating at the Shalallat Gardens area in Alexandria have come to fruition for the Greek archaeologists at Hellenic Institute for the Research of Alexandrian Culture. The result (as of now) pertains to the discovery of a long, carved tunnel unearthed at a depth of more than 30 ft. This tunnel complements the earlier findings of ancient buildings and a bridge, all of which date from the Ptolemaic period of Greek rule in ancient Egypt.

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Now historically, while Alexander the Great himself is credited with the founding of Alexandria, there are maritime archaeological evidences to suggest that a smaller native Egypt settlement known as Rhakotis, previously existed on the proximate shores. In any case, Alexander’s Ptolemaic successors envisaged Alexandria as the crucial commercial link between the Mediterranean and the Nile Valley. Consequently the city took over many of the trade networks from Tyre (which was razed by Alexander himself), and thus rose in prominence – so much so that it overtook Carthage in terms of population in just a generation. And with the construction of massive structures like The Great Library of Alexandria and Lighthouse of Alexandria (check out its reconstruction here), this is what Strabo had to say about the ancient mega city after almost 300 years of its (re)founding –

The city has magnificent public precincts and royal palaces which cover a fourth or even a third of the entire area. For just as each of the kings would, from a love of splendor, add some ornament to the public monuments, so he would provide himself at his own expense with a residence in addition to those already standing.

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And since we are talking about massive structures of Alexandria, the excavation project in question here had unveiled a public building from the Ptolemaic era (back in 2015), which according to the archaeologists, boasted humongous proportions and arched ceiling design. And while the structure is still being assessed, the particular discovery is significant in the sense that its location corresponds to a segment of the Royal Quarters of the Ptolemies, whose buildings are mentioned in ancient sources.

And lastly, adding to the structural legacy of the Ptolemies of Alexandria, archaeologists have also found a bevy of smaller objects, including pottery, coins and mosaic floors. But perhaps the most visually striking find among these artifacts pertains to a Hellenistic marble statue of Alexander the Great (pictured below), which is currently displayed at the National Museum of Alexandria.

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Source: AMNA / Via: GreekReporter / Images Credit: ANA/MNA

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