This image of Alexandria was taken by astronauts on board the International Space Station in December 2000 using an Electronic Still Camera. A wider-angle view (STS088-739-90) taken from the Space Shuttle in December 1998 is available for context.
Alexandria (Al Iskandariya) occupies a T-shaped peninsula and strip of land separating the Mediterranean from Lake Mariout. Originally the town was built upon a mole (stone breakwater) called Heptastadium, which joined the island of Pharos (see referenced website, below) to the mainland. Since then sedimentary deposits have widened the mole. Since 1905, when the 370,000 Alexandrians lived in an area of about 4 sq km between the two harbors, the city (population 4 million; see referenced website, below) has grown beyond its medieval walls and now occupies an area of about 300 sq km. The Mahmudiya Canal, connecting Alexandria with the Nile, runs to the south of the city and, by a series of locks, enters the harbor of the principal port of Egypt (note ships). The reddish and ochre polygons west of Lake Mariout are salt-evaporation, chemical-storage, and water-treatment ponds within the coastal lagoon.
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, Alexandria became a center of trade and learning in the ancient world. he Eastern Harbor was the main port in the Middle Ages. This detailed image taken by Space Station crew members using an 800-mm lens provides a view of the modern port facilities in the Western Harbor, where wharves and many moored ships can be detected.