Submerged Archeology in Alexandria
The submerged archeology in Alexandria governorate takes you back in time on a journey to the olden Greek and Roman eras.
You should not be surprised when you see the statues of the «Sphinx» awaiting you under the water. This is how wonderful this place is. It is filled with thousands of sunken archeology from different eras and time periods that are still available till this day under the waters of Alexandria.
In this article, «Terhalak» will take you to the Alexandria Diving Center that is located in the Bahri area in the Alexandria governorate.
The center organizes diving trips to the submerged archaeology which we are going to review in order to help you out and let you know about the most important information that you need to be aware of when starting a diving experience, as explained by Dr. Ashraf Sabry, director of the center.
Trip of the Submerged Archaeology in Alexandria
Alexandria has five submerged archaeological sites on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea that are El Maamora, Abu Qir, Shatby, Qaitbay, and the Eastern Port. The diving center takes you on a trip to the two main sites which are the Eastern Port, and Qaitbay.
The Eastern Port area was considered as the royal quarter in the Ptolemaic era in the past. This area contains the theater and the temple of the God Poseidon which dates back to the Greek era, along with the statues of the Sphinx, and a sunken shipwreck dating back to the Roman era.
It also contains the Antirhodos island and the tongue known as the Timonium Peninsula, according to the information on the official website of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
As for the Qaitbay area which is adjacent to the Eastern Port area, the remains of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria are present there. This lighthouse is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which was brought down by an earthquake, and the archaeologies that surrounded the pillar of the Aswari are also available there. These archaeologies got thrown into the port in 1176 AD during the reign of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi to impede the coming Crusader invasion from Cyprus.
Alexandria Diving Center
The diving center welcomes all Egyptian and foreign visitors that are fond of knowing about the submerged archaeologies, and if you are new to diving, the center teaches you the basics of diving before you go on with this experience.
In the beginning, the center introduces you to an “intro dive” by explaining about the diving tools and methods needed before you start your diving adventure. This introduction includes diving in front of the center’s beach until you are prepared to dive for about 5 meters of depth which is the height that is permitted according to the diving law.
A Diving Trip to the World of Submerged Archeology in Alexandria
The center allows visitors to dive from the age of 12 years old and above, and the duration of the diving experience is between half an hour to one hour. After you are prepared to dive in a depth of 5 meters under water, you will be taken on a yacht trip to the Qaitbay Citadel and the Eastern Port.
The diving trip to the world of sunken archeology is for one complete hour which is from 2 pm to 3 pm fully under the water. The diver takes you on a tour among the sunken archaeologies which makes you forget about the outside world, and takes you on a journey to the ancient Greco-Roman world.
The price of the trip including the equipment, the yacht journey, and a full-day coach from ten in the morning until three in the afternoon, is 400 EGP and for foreigners it is 50$. The price includes the value of antiquities and border guards’ permits.
The trips of the submerged archaeology takes place throughout the year, and stops on specific extreme winter days whose dates are announced in advance by the meteorological authority. However, cruises and diving under the water during winter season is still allowed and such trips are equipped with diving clothes that compensate for the cold temperature under the water.
Diseases Preventing Diving to See the Submerged Archaeology in Alexandria
There are certain health conditions that needs consent in order to allow a person to dive or not. These diseases include an operation in the inner ear, an operation in the spine, a partial resection of the lung, and an epilepsy. People should sign the specified written papers about their consent of fulfilling this activity on their own personal responsibility.
Diver Degree as a Tour Guide
On this diving trip, you will be greeted by the well-experienced diver in this center “Mr. Alexander” who accompanies you throughout your trip, and prepares you, as well as supplies you with the equipment and diving clothes that are needed while he goes along with you throughout the diving trip under water.
The master diver introduces you to the existing artifacts and also explains about their background whether they are Pharaonic, Greek, or Roman through symbolic signs. These symbolic signs will be explained to you before descending, in addition to an introduction about the signs that you will be using under water.
The center provides you with all the tools needed for diving, which are diving clothes, a breathing cylinder, and a breathing regulator. The diver accompanying you will provide an introduction about how to use these tools under the water, and also teaches you how to float over the water, and how to get out of the water in order to avoid all risks. He will keep on repeating this information until he feels that you are able to actually handle diving. There should be only two people with each diver so that he would be able to focus solely on them.
There are strict instructions that the diver explains to you which should be adhered to regarding diving and the effects. These instructions include that you should not take off the respiratory regulator that is placed in your mouth under any circumstances, because it may place your life in danger. Do not approach fish, since there are certain types that are poisonous.
Whereas for the submerged archaeologies, do not to touch them in order not to cause any scratches on these antiques, and photography without permission from the center is prohibited.
“Fadi” Shares his Personal Diving Experience
“Fadi Ramzi”, a civil engineer from the Alexandria governorate, spoke to “Terhalak” about his personal experience in diving after we interviewed him in the center.
Fadi said that he began to learn diving two months ago, and the submerged archaeologies is from where he started his diving experience, specifically in the area of Qaitbay Citadel.
He explained about how dazzled he got by seeing the pharaonic statues, among which the most important are the heads of the Sphinx, which he explained about by saying that one of them is of clear features and the other one is of blurring facial features due to the erosion of sea water. There is also a sunken plane in front of the El Raml Station area.
Fadi added that at first he was worried about diving under the sea, but once he tried it, he found out that diving was an interesting thing which made him repeat this experience all over again until he reached 40 dives, among which 6 dives of these were only to see the sunken archaeologies.
He said that the most important thing that encouraged him to dive was the diver accompanying him throughout the diving trip, and that the experience of seeing the submerged archaeologies made a difference with him on an individual level, saying: “I am a civil engineer and when I look at the foundations of building the Alexandria lighthouse and some architectural columns, I realize that in ancient times they actually had a knowing about such stuff as they used to work on professional standards from the work I see ahead of me.”
He summarized the experience for us by saying: “When we enter a museum, we like the shape of the archaeologies, let alone if we saw them in a special case while they are underwater! As soon as the water covers my head, I feel that I have entered another world.”