The catacombs of Kom al-Shuqafa are a historical archaeological site located in Alexandria. It is considered one of the most important cemeteries in the city and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the Middle Ages. The cemetery consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues, and archaeological remains of the Pharaonic funerary cult, and due to the time period at the time, many of the features of the catacombs at Kom al-Shuqafa combine Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cultural points.
The catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa is considered one of the best archaeological sites located in Alexandria. They were discovered as soon as the 20th century began and is considered one of the largest burial Roman places, these tombs were excavated in the mother rock at the time of Emperor Antoninus, in the second century A.D.
These tombs represent the last great existing construction for the sake of the ancient Egyptian religion. The characteristics of the Catacombs of Kom El Shohafa, its designs, and decorations allow us to deduce that its construction was made in different periods, between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries A.D.
Some discovered objects date from the years 117 and 138 A.D.
Historians agree that the catacombs were used until the end of the fourth century A.D., and were later abandoned. The discovery of this important historical site was accidental, a donkey fell into the main entrance of the tombs, more than 12 meters deep on September 28th, 1900, and this caught the attention of the archaeological mission that was already working on the area since 1892.
At present days, the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are one of the main attractions of Alexandria, the entrance is made by means of a spiral staircase of 6 meters in diameter and approx. 10 meters deep surrounding cylindrical water well. This staircase was built with larger steps at the beginning and smaller at the end, according to the common rituals of the Roman period and leads to a first basement.
This basement consists of a corridor that connects to a circular room, known as “the Rotunda”. In the middle of it there is a water well. On one side, there is a rectangular room, which was used as a banquet place. At the end of the circular room, there are steps leading to a second basement, full of rooms, corridors, chambers and most of the graves of Kom El Shoqafa.
The "Rotunda" or circular room has a dome and six columns that support it. The water well is about 8.5 meters deep. The walls of this room are characterized by their red geometric shapes. In the place, five heads of alabaster statues were found, which are currently exhibited in the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria.
The second room that can be observed, is known as "triclinium". It is 9 meters wide and 8.5 meters long and has the most outstanding decorations of Kom El Shoqafa. In this section, the relatives of the deceased met to eat during their visit to the catacombs.
The most important part of the second basement is the room where there are three sarcophagi with Greco-Roman decorations. The middle one presents reliefs on the complicated mummification process in Ancient Egypt.
The walls of the room have scenes depicting the Roman emperor wearing his crown and presenting his offerings to the goddess Isis, who is protecting the deceased with her wings.
When leaving the main chamber of Kom El Shoqafa, you can observe the god Anubis, in soldier clothes and Roman weapons, standing in front of a pharaonic door. On the right side, the god Anubis is also represented, but this time with a human body and dragon tail. All these scenes were derived from the mortuary art of Ancient Egypt.
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Discover the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa and many other monuments in the city that was built by the legendary Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great in 332 B.C by booking the traditional day tour to Alexandria from Cairo to enjoy the best atmosphere in the whole country of Egypt.
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