Imagine descending deep into the earth, into a dark and mysterious world where the only light comes from your lantern. This is what awaits visitors to the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa in Alexandria, Egypt.
Discovered in 1900, the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are a series of tunnels and caves that contain some of the most fascinating ancient Egyptian art ever discovered. This artwork includes carved sarcophagi, colorful murals, and even a replica of the ancient city of Alexandria itself.
If you’re visiting Alexandria, be sure to add the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa to your list of must-see attractions. You won’t be disappointed!
Overview of the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
Your journey into the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa begins in a small room, where your guide provides you with a short history of the site. You then descend a set of steep, narrow stairs, winding down into the darkness.
As your eyes start to adjust to the darkness, you begin to make out the features of the catacombs before you. The ceilings are low and the air is thick and musty, as if it has been trapped down here for centuries. You can’t help but feel a sense of excitement as you explore these hidden treasures.
The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are one of Alexandria’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason. These labyrinthine tunnels were used to bury the dead from the late Roman period to the early Islamic period, and they offer an insight into Egypt’s ancient history. With its carved columns and intricate reliefs, the catacombs are a sight to behold.
History of the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa were discovered in 1900 when a group of locals were digging a well. What they found was a series of caves, corridors and tombs that had been carved out of the limestone rock.
The catacombs date back to the 2nd century AD, and are thought to have been used as a burial place for the wealthy residents of Alexandria. The caves and tombs are intricately carved, and decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and the Bible.
The catacombs were closed to the public for many years, but they were reopened in 2005 and are now a popular tourist attraction.
What to See and Do at the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are one of Alexandria’s most popular tourist attractions for a good reason: they’re absolutely fascinating. This labyrinth of underground tombs and tunnels was carved out of the rock in the late 1800s, and it’s a true wonder to behold.
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You can explore the tombs at your leisure, but be sure to watch your head as you go; some of the ceilings are quite low. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even explore some of the tunnels that lead off from the main catacombs. Just be careful not to get lost!
There’s also a small museum on-site that tells the story of the catacombs and their creators. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in Ancient Egyptian history.
Tips for Visiting the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
When you go to explore the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, make sure you plan enough time to get through it all. After all, there’s a lot to see and experience! Here are some tips for getting the most out of your visit:
- Wear comfortable shoes – Exploring the whole complex can take 2-3 hours. Wear comfortable shoes so that you don’t tire yourself out too quickly.
- Carry water – The underground tunnels can get hot and humid during the summer months, so it is important to stay hydrated.
- Be respectful – This is a sacred site with ancient artifacts and offerings from long ago. Adhere to all rules by not touching or taking anything, so that future generations can enjoy this site as much as we do now.
- Don’t forget your camera – You’re going to want to snap pictures of all the amazing sculptures and artwork within the complex.
- Join a tour – If you don’t feel comfortable navigating through the catacombs alone, consider joining a guided tour instead.
Getting to and Around the Catacombs
You can reach the Catacombs of Kom El shoqafa by taking a cab from the airport, or traveling by train. The nearest metro station to the Catacombs is Ramses. Once you’ve reached the Catacombs, a tour guide is recommended to help you maneuver around the area; there are several pathways and staircases throughout, so it’s easy to get lost.
When you tour the Catacombs, you will be taken down several flights of stairs into an underground world of brightly painted frescoes and three distinctive levels that offer stunning views of ancient architecture. A major highlight is undoubtedly the central chamber that houses a grandiose spiral staircase, which showcases finely crafted pillars and decorations. From here, visitors can view some incredible artwork that dates back to Roman, Greek and Egyptian times.
The Catacombs are an excellent example of the intricate details that have been incorporated into early Egyptian culture, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring Egypt’s rich history.
FAQs About Visiting the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
Do you have some questions about visiting this marvel of Alexandria? Here are some of the frequently asked questions that can help plan your journey to the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa.
How much will it cost to visit the Catacombs?
The entrance fee is at 80 Egyptian Pounds, and visitors receive a tour guide with it.
Is it safe?
Yes, it is very safe. There are security guards onsite to protect visitors, and they have installed electronic gates for better control
How long does it take to visit the Catacombs?
It usually takes around two hours for a complete tour around the Catacombs.
Is it wheelchair-friendly?
Yes, the entire complex is wheelchair-friendly and has ramps built into all areas for easy access.
Is photography allowed inside?
You can take pictures inside but without using a flash, as it may cause damage to some of the ancient artifacts preserved within.
Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa Location
So if you’re ever in the area, be sure to visit this fascinating attraction and explore its hidden treasures for yourself!
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