Pompey's Pillar at Alexandria
Pompey’s Pillar at Alexandria

Most famous monument at Alexandria

South and west of Alexandria , near the site of the ancient Ptolemaic city of “Rhakotis” , stands Pompey’s Pillar It was reportedly raised around 297 in honour of the Emperor “Diocletian” , who saved the city from a frightful famine .

This Column is the tallest monument still standing in Alexandria and is also one of the most famous attractions in the city .

The column’s location

It is located in Karmouz district , which is one of the sixteen villages on which the ancient city of Alexandria was founded .

This district was also part of the downtown or the Acropolis of the ancient Alexandria near to important buildings and temples .

The highest ancient building in Alexandria

The height of the column , including the base and the Crown which is Corinthian Greek style , is 26.85 meters ( 88 feet ) .

The shaft itself is 20.75 meters ( 68 feet ) tall , with a diameter of 2.70 meters at the base and 2,30 meters at the top ( eight feet ten inches and seven feet six inches respectively ) .
It is a single piece of red granite cut from a quarry in Aswan .

what ‘s engraved on the body of Pompay’s pillar

On the western side of the column is engraved , ” To the just Emperor , the god of Alexandria , the invincible Diocletian , ” Nevertheless ,

Also on the base of the pillar was found Greek engravings as well as another piece of Sawon rock engraved with hieroglyphic that carries the name of king Seti I , one of the kings of the nineteenth dynasty ( 1318-1208 BC ) and another piece written in hieroglyphics which is now kept in the British Museum and written on it part of the name of either King Snosert II or III both of whom were kings from the 12 th dynasty.

It is not Pompey’s pillar!

it was mistakenly called Pompey’s Pillar by the French regarding Pompey’s head after his death . while the Arabs calling it ” Amod El Sawary” which means the column of the horsemen , bearing in mind or rather imagination that it might have been a base of the emperor’s statue as a cavalry on his horse .

Different shapes of rocks and stones that date back to different historical periods were used in constructing the bases of this great memorial , some of which were part of older buildings like the base of a statue made of greenish – black rocks and the body is of red granite.

Date of the construction

The date of the construction of this building is not precisely known but it dates back to the Roman times and it is claimed that this pillar was presented to Christianity after its victory in Alexandria

This pillar was probably constructed by Alexandrians in honour of the Roman Emperor Diocletian to express their gratitude towards his generosity after he came to Egypt in the second half of the third century and put an end to the siege initiated by the Roman Leader Domitianos.

Diocletian returned peace and prosperity to the city of Alexandria.

Other monuments around the pillar

around the pillar there are other monuments you can see:

The ancient Nilometer , the remains of the Temple of Serapis Serapeum. two small sphinx- statues.


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