Alternative Egypt Travel Guide
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Roman Catacombs of Kom es Shoqafi



Famously rediscovered when a donkey fell through a hole in 1900, the Roman Catacombs (or Kom El-shouqafa meaning “Mounds of Shards” as they are known locally) are a series of tunnels that make up an ancient cemetery dating back to the 1st century AD.

Built over three levels, the catacombs are the largest Roman tombs in Egypt, carved out of solid rock, and a fine example of infused Greek, Roman, and Pharaohnic decorative art.

The site includes a banquet hall or trycinium where mourners gathered to toast their loved ones, a rotunda, and accommodation for more than 300 noble tombs, all linked to outside world via a spiral staircase.

Downstairs the Central Tomb (the site’s main attraction) is protected by reliefs of Egyptian Gods dressed like Roman Soldiers and other such pieces combining elements of the three ancient cultures.

How to get to the catacombs

The Roman Catacombs are located in Alexandria’s Karmous Quarter.

By far the easiest way to the site is by taxi. Hail one on the street and ask for it by its Arabic name, “Kom El Shouqafa”. You should pay no more than 5 – 10 LE from central Alexandria but be sure to agree the price before hand (read more about taking taxis in Egypt).

Alternatively you can take bus 709 or tram 16 from Midan St Katerina to Pompey’s Pillar and walk ten minutes from there. Ask one of the guards at the site to point you in the right direction.

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