Where Cleopatra lived

Motor boat, crushed the nose, easily slides on sea stool. It is increasingly removed from the Alexandrian Yacht Club, located near the medieval Fort Kite Bay. Our path lies to the place in the Eastern Bay, where it sits on the waves of the yacht "Oceanosan". She was rented by the Egyptian expedition of the European Institute of Maritime Archeology in Paris, led by his director Frank Goddio. Since the fall of 1996, the divers of the expedition will carefully examine the bottom of the Eastern Bay.

Alexandria is based on Alexander Macedonian himself in 331 BC. For seven centuries, she was the capital of Egypt, the largest political and cultural center of the Eastern Mediterranean. In her famous library – now she is reborn – worked Mathematics and physicist Archimedes, Father Geometry Euclidean, Geographer Stragon.

It would seem that the city of such fate should be literally stuffed with historical monuments. But alas, in Alexandria they are quite a bit. Roman amphitheater. Pompeev Column, located in the catacombs of the Necropolis of Anfushi and Kom Ash-Shugafa – That’s all. And all these monuments are already following our era, by the time Egypt turned into the province of Roman Empire. And where are the temples and palaces of the times of the Greek dynasty of Ptolomeyev, which ruled the country until the middle of the i century BC.NS.? Where the tomb of Alexander Macedon? Until recently, no one could answer these questions.

Not so long ago, researchers who studied medieval manuscripts, found mention that in 335 in Alexandria was a strong earthquake, part of the coast went to the floor. It was here that a guess arose: did Greek Alexandria died? Remembered about the stories of Egyptian-lovers of amateurs, which have not yet been accomplished at the bottom of the Eastern Bay on some ruins.

Sitting with me in the boat Faika Turki amateur you won’t call. For his life, he made more than five thousand dives with aqualling, has an international certificate.

– I was born and grew out in that house. – Faik shows a small building on the Eastern Bay. – For the first time I dived to the bottom when I was only 10 years old. The depths here are small – from 2 to 12 meters. True, the visibility is unimportant, because from a huge city so much dirt. As a child, the fishermen told me that the network, there was a fragment of sculptures or columns. Then I myself have ever seen them. But carefully examine the bay was not possible. After all, it is a time consuming and expensive.

The task of this and undertook to fulfill the expedition of Goddio. After the first four months of work, its participants came to the conclusion: at the bottom of the Eastern Bay, the royal quarter of Greek Alexandria is indeed. The place where Anthony tragedy and Cleopatra played in due time.

The brilliant Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, eating poets, was the daughter of Ptolemy Xi. She was born in 69 BC.NS. And climbed the throne. when she was only 18 years old. The Roman ruler Caesar who arrived in Alexandria fell in love with Cleopatra. But in 44 BC.NS. He was killed by conspirators.

Beautiful young queen for a short time remained widow. Two years later she captured the successor Caesar – Anthony. Happiness continued for a decade. Anthony scored Rome and settled in Alexandria, turning from the Roman emperor in the Egyptian king. The enemies did not forgive him. The Roman Senate announced War Cleopatre, and in 31 BC.NS. Her fleet was defeated by the Cape of Shares. Army Anthony was defeated under Alexandria by the troops of Octaviana. Hiring Cleopatra huddled in the bedroom, sending the maid to say Anthony, that she died. Shocked, he decided to commit suicide and hit himself a dagger in his belly. He died in his hands Cleopatra. But the Queen has surrendered to Anthony. Not wanting to become the prey of Octaviana, she died from the bite to a poisonous snake brought, at her request, servants. Such a sad story.

Tomb Cleopatra and Anthony Most likely we will not find. – My second satellite says, director of the underwater archeology department of the Egyptian Department of Egypt, Ibrahim Dervish. – But in the course of the expedition, sensational finds can be made. After all, ahead is not one year of work. It is necessary to clarify the underwater card, clearing the items detected – almost all of them are covered with a thick layer of sand and sludge.

Island underwater

Boat mooring to yacht. Climb on board. Goddio itself is not found, despite the preliminary agreement: it urgently caused some city authorities. Well, the participants of the expedition continue their every time their everyday work.

– All of us are 14 people, – tells one of the divers named Daniel, – 8 French and 6 Egyptians. Go down to the water twice a day – in half of the ninth and morning and half of the third day. Every time we spend two or three hours under water.

Daniel shows an east bay underwater map.

– The yacht is moored to buoy in the place where the island called Anti-Rhodes once was located – the Frenchman explains. – It is probably in Greek times and was the royal quarter. At least the remnants of structures are clearly visible.

And deep here? – I ask Ya.

– Not very, – responds diving. – Only 5-6 meters. So, we still found that the current Cape Silsil. Correcting Eastern Bay – only a small part of what was in antiquity. Basically, he, like anti-Rhodes, went under the water. There, too, there are remnants of architectural structures. What – do not know. Was there and port.

The photographer of the expedition named Frederick joins the conversation. It pulls out a thick album with photos. They are divers next to columns, capitals, sculptures, sphinxes. On the same photo – old plane.

– English two-duct bomber "Bristol", – Explains Frederick. – Died during World War II.

In 1942, in the territory of Egypt, the fierce hostilities of the Allies on Anti-Hitler’s Coalitions with the troops of the Power "axis" – Italy and Germany. The fascists managed to break away from Libya up to El Alamein, located in a hundred kilometers of West Alexandria.

Faik Turks – He is not only a diver, but also a submarine photographer – with fervor discussing with Frederick of dignity and disadvantages of the photo, and in the meantime I again appeal to Daniel.

– Tell me, how are you under water make up a map? Not with a tape measure by the bottom crawling?

– No, of course, he answers. – We work with the so-called global location system. It looks like that. First installed buoy with very accurate coordinates. Under the water go down with a special device. It determines the location of the subject in relation to buoy.

– Plus-minus 30 centimeters. Then this data is processed on the computer.

Daniel leads me to the nasal part of the yacht. There is a computer, some diagrams are scattered on the spacious table.

– By the way, Ibrahim Dervish comes into conversation, "While you clarify the seabed card here, we think how to protect your finds. To begin with, we plan to escalate the entire water area of ‚Äč‚Äčanti-rhodes and the underwater part of Silsili – so that the vessels do not throw anchor here and thereby damaged the ancient monuments. The same thing will have to, probably, do around the Fort of Kite Bae, where your colleagues from an emperor expedition work.

Jean-Yves Emperor, Director of the French Center for Executing Alexandria, heads another underwater expedition, operating since 1994 around Fort Kite Ba. Fort, one of the main attractions of Alexandria, was built in 1479 on the site of the famous Farm Lighthouse – one of the seven wonders of the world. According to the testimony of contemporaries, the lighthouse, built in 279 to N. NS., Represented by a three-stage tower of more than 120 meters high by architecture. Semidone’s sememater statue was installed on her. Light of the lighthouse was visible to 50 more kilometers.

The Lighthouse was built on the island of Faros, on the Eastern Issa, where the hand came to Cape Silsil. Electricity, as you understand, did not happen, at the top of the lighthouse just diluted in the evenings a big bonfire. To deliver fuel for him on boats was uncomfortable, and the Greeks built a dam, which connected the Western tip of the island with the mainland. So the Eastern Bay formed. From the West – Dam, from the East – Silsil, from the north – Faros. Over time, the sea washed on the sand dam, and Faros turned into a peninsula. On the cage is now a noisy shipping area.

Faros Lighthouse stood for almost a thousand years, and then he was gradually destroyed by earthquakes. Since Alexandria stopped being the capital with the Byzantine times and began to decline, the lighthouse was not restored. By the beginning of the XIV century, he turned into a pile of ruins.

But the Fort Kite Bay did not take time. In the 80s he had to restore. And then, to protect the fort from destructive shutders, began to drop reinforced concrete hedgehogs into the water. I was remembered here: back in the 60s at the bottom of the sea, at the walls of the fort, stone blocks, columns and statues were discovered. The public scored anxiety: Will the valuable historical monuments destroy?

Where Cleopatra lived

After some ponday, the Department of Antiquities decided: the seabed near the fort need to examine carefully. A joint Egyptian-French expedition was created, which the emperor was headed. Unlike Goddio, who could only guess the possible outcome of his expedition, the emperor knew firmly: finds will. But what about?

For three divers, the divers make a detailed map of the bottom of the fort. They found over two thousand items. Half them made up huge granite blocks weighing 50, or even 75 tons. Some of the blocks were split, as if fell from a high height. – We have reason to assert, – commented on the discovery of the emperor – what "At least some of these blocks is the remnants of the Faros."

The warm autumn day of the water appeared a female granite torso – as if Venus, born in the sea underworld. Numerous audience welcomed this first find, raised from the bottom of the sea. In total, with the help of a floating crane, 35 items were delivered to the shore: stone blocks, columns, fragments of statues, reliefs with inscriptions in the ancient Egyptian and Greek languages. They were sent to restoration and conservation. The rest and remained at the bottom of the sea.

How to see Nakhodka?

The results of the work of two expeditions in the Eastern Bay so stunning that the question immediately arose: what to do with finds? Not all of them can be removed from the sea – you won’t transfer the royal palace to the land. Another thing – columns or statues. But also their rise, restoration, preservation, and then accommodation in some museum – the case is complex and expensive. Maybe to go differently? And suggestions fell like a horn of abundance.

Two Egyptian professors-oceanograf, Hassan al-bath and Selim Mercos, offer to create an underwater archaeological park in Eastern Bay. Anyone who knows how to handle the aqualung can visit him. Alas, people such a bit, and see the places, so rich when the events are breathtaking, would like everything. In addition, the city authorities are interested in the fact that new historical sights appeared on the map of Alexandria. It would attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Someone from the expedition, Goddio put forward such an idea: to close the Eastern Bay and pump out water out of it. Then the ancient monuments will be available to all. True, work will have a huge. Cove Square – three square kilometers, about 12 million cubic meters of water in it. The French argue that technically it is quite possible. In their homeland, during the construction of one of the nuclear power plants, the bay was dried with the same amount of water. Well, and expenses with time will pay off revenues from tourism.

My Egyptian satellites believe that the proposal is hardly feasible.

– I’m not sure that you can hermetically clog the eastern bay, – says Faik Turks. – Too large at the bottom of the sand layer and or water will leak under the dam. And then the Eastern Bay is also a working port, and not just a yacht club. Where to give fishermen? Build for them an artificial bay? And who will finance such a grand project?

Ibrahim Dervish agrees from the Turk. But there must be some kind of decision!

– Maybe buy a small submarine for the eastern bay as "Sinbad" in Hurghada? – I propose.

– I do not think – shakes the head of the Turk. – Depths are not enough, and visibility is notable here – this is not the Red Sea.

– There is another option – I’m not looking. – Build a underwater pedestrian gallery with large windows – so that it takes place near the most interesting monuments. They say that such is in the Israeli port of Eilat.

Turks and dervish according to nod. This is my proposal seems to them most practical. But, in fact, speaking, whatever the option is in the end accepted by the authorities, its implementation is the case of a fairly distant future. After all, the work of expeditions is still far over.

Meanwhile, the clock approached half of the third. Divers in turn clothed in bright red suits and jumping and water. The last boat leaves Daniel. He waves us goodbye and disappears in turbid coastal waters of the Mediterranean.

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