Kom el Dikka

These ruins were once a bustling Roman-Egyptian city.


Residential Area of Kom el Dikka (2020-09) by Tessa LiteckyAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Urban Renewal

In the early Roman period, large urban houses were built in the eastern end of the site. But by the 4th century, the private architecture was replaced by public buildings and this site became the urban heart of Alexandria. 

Egypt's Roman History

The site of Kom el Dikka is home to the remains of the ancient city of Alexandria, which was the center of philosophical learning, art, and culture in the Roman world around the 5th to 7th centuries AD.

The Greco-Roman period in Egypt began when Alexander the Great entered Egypt in 332 BC and drove out the Persians who put an end to the era of the native pharaohs. It lasted until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the 7th century AD.

Kom El Dikka Amphitheatre (2009-04-04) by Kenneth GarrettAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

All the World's a Stage

One of the most impressive buildings was the theater. This was a public meeting spaces where concerts, lectures, and play performances were enjoyed by residents of the city. This is the only such theater that still exists from this period in Egypt.

Via Canopic

The theater was positioned on the main street (canopic) that ran east to west through the center of the ancient city. It was wide and lined by large columns.

Auditoria of Kom el Dikka (2020-09) by Tessa LiteckyAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

City of Learning

Alexandria was known as a center of philosophy, learning, and commerce in the Mediterranean world. You may know the city for it's famous library, one of the largest and most significant in the world at the time.

These auditoria were lecture halls where grammarians, orators, and teachers of law, could teach hundreds of students. You can imagine famous minds like Hypatia,  a female philosopher and mathematician, sharing her ideas with eager students.

Auditoria of Kom el Dikka (2020-09) by Tessa LiteckyAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Much like classrooms today, the students would sit on surrounding benches and the teacher lectured from the raised seat at the front. The 20+ auditoria were built along the west and north sides of the site.

Remains of the Roman Baths at Kom el Dikka (2020-09) by Tessa LiteckyAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Baths were a mainstay of roman culture. This huge complex in the northern part of the site would have hadpools and rooms of different temperatures where locals could meet, unwind, and socialize.

Since then, the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, in close cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, has conducted large-scale excavation, restoration, and site management projects.

A salvage excavation at this site in the 1960's unearthed a treasure-trove of buildings and material previously unknown to historians.

The Villa of the Birds

The restoration of the mosaics of an early Roman villa by the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) gives visitors a sense of the rich art and history of this unique site. 

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Credits: Story

The conservation of the Villa of the Birds was carried out from February 1998 to June 1999 financed by ARCE, through the Egyptian Antiquities Project (EAP), and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Supplemental work including landscaping and construction of visitors’ roads was carried out by Polish Egyptian Preservation Mission sponsored jointly by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Polish Center of Archeology. Read more at arce.org
Story Created by Tessa Litecky, ARCE

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.