I travelled to Alexandria just before the revolution with journalist, Andrew Muller. We were amazed at how dilapidated it was as a city.
Like many port cities, Alexandria bears all the usual influences of bygone colonial eras, with a heavy Italian and Turkish feel. I was surprised to learn that, in the 60s, Alexandria was the democratic and liberal jewel of Afro/Arabia with the Egyptian pound being worth more than the British, and women sunbathing on the beaches in stylish western bikini's.
This had all but vanished, but the sense of history and former decadence remained.