select - Mediterranean ports
Written by Brian Johnston Illustration by Thomas Hopkinson
Visit these Mediterranean port cities, where you are assured of finding a history stretching back to classical times, with Ottoman and colonial influences adding yet more layers. But you’ll also find thriving, modern cities with a distinctive Arab culture and energy.
Lacking pharaonic monuments, Alexandria is often overlooked by visitors to Egypt, but its many attractions, including grand squares and streets dating from the Belle Epoque, ooze faded elegance, along with great cafes and a laidback, youthful lifestyle derived from its location on the sea and many colleges and universities. Then there is Alexandria’s extraordinary history, with Roman mosaics and Greek artefacts. Don’t miss visiting the Catacombs and the Graeco-Roman Museum. The ultra-modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina cultural centre and library is testament to the continuation of Alexandria’s millennium-old cultural life. Next, head for Attarine, a district known for its antiques. The more adventurous will find the alleys off Fransa Street backed with street stalls selling everything from fresh vegetables to textiles and bric-a-brac.
One of the world’s most ancient cities that was already renowned in classical times, and still going strong.
Alexandria is on Egypt’s northern Mediterranean coastline, where the Nile delta meets the sea.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies from Doha to Alexandria four times a week.
AlgiersNicknamed ‘La Blanche’, or the white city, for the colour of its buildings, Algiers lies wedged between fertile hills and the beaches of the Mediterranean, and is the country’s largest city and port. Its history is evidenced in its Citadel, a Berber stronghold of the 16th century, many a fine mosque, and elegant Ottoman mansions such as Dar Hassan Pacha. Later, the French laid out the waterfront, civic gardens, and notable buildings such as the spectacular Grande Post. The Monument of the Martyrs, celebrating the fight for independence, is the city’s most-recognised landmark. These days, contemporary street life sets the city abuzz. In the evenings, have a drink in the courtyard garden of the Moorish-style Bar Dey, before enjoying Franco-Algerian cuisine at Auberge du Moulin, reckoned by many to be the best restaurant in town.
Rapid growth and a new openness make this the city to watch in North Africa.
Crowned by an ancient citadel, Algeria’s largest city spreads around a beautiful bay on the central Mediterranean coastline.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies from Doha to Algiers daily.
Combining a distinct Arab flavour with Mediterranean
ambience, Tripoli is a busy, cosmopolitan city on one of the southern Mediterranean’s best harbours. Not only a major port and financial centre, its rich historical heritage ranges from the Ottoman medina and atmospheric teahouses to mosques, a castle, and Roman ruins. Jamahiriya Museum has an outstanding collection of classical artefacts.
Libya’s largest city and a major port, Tripoli also has a history going back thousands of years.
Standing on a rocky outcrop that forms a Mediterranean bay, Tripoli is located in northwest Libya.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies from Doha to Tripoli daily.