In the heart of Alexandria there is a place that was once called Park of Pan. In the time of Ptolemy, it was basically a pleasure garden with a marble-seated amphitheatre, Roman baths and lecture halls. Thousands of years and several dynasties passed and over time the luxurious history of this spot was forgotten. It became known by the less glamorous name of Kom El Dekka (Mound of Rubble).
In the 60s the mound of rubble was removed to make way for a new building, uncovering ancient columns which lead to the excavation of the area. Under the rubble were some well preserved elements of the Park of Pan. Over 30 years the theatre was excavated and now it is one of the most popular monuments in Alexandria.
The Roman Theatre at Kom El Dekka was one of our stops on our tour of Alexandria. We had the place to ourselves, the only other people at the site were members of our tour. Our guide showed us around a small outdoor exhibition of Pharaonic and Greco-Roman era objects that have been found underwater at a nearby harbour.
While exploring on our own, an Egyptian man directed us towards tunnels under the amphitheatre. Oscar darted into the tunnels first and we made our way after him, balancing on makeshift bridges made of loose boards, feeling very Indiana Jonesish. Then back out into the glaring sun where the man demanded money for showing us the tunnels and we once again felt like tourists.
My spell check insists Jonesish is not a word, but I stand by my choices.