Alexandria519aAET

Alexandria: Pompey’s Pillar & the Serapeum

The massive 25 meter high pink granite Pillar of Pompey rises out of the remains of the acropolis known as the Serapeum. In ptolemaic times this was a rocky outcrop with 100 steps which led up to a temple devoted to Serapis, the man-made god of Alexandria. The temple of Serapis stood at the top of the hill and contained a statue of the god, whose right hand rested on the three-headed Cerberus, the Greek mythological dog of the hell. The building was oriented so that the rising sun entered the naos with the statue of Serapis. Of the temple proper, little remains but the pink granite pillar.
A tunnel, northwest of the pillar, leads down to the subterranean vaults under the temple of Anubis where sacred jackals were buried. The only reminder of the ancient annex daughter library that once stood here, is a gallery with some shelves. Among the statues is a colossal limestone statue of Isis Pharia, the goddess associated with the lighthouse, which was recovered from the sea off Qaitbey's fort.
Pompey's Pillar, mistakenly credited to the Roman general Pompey in stead of emperor Diocletian, was erected in AD 293. It has a circumference of nine meters.