Rosetta : Rose City

Small town east of Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean, Rosetta Stone was found there, Second city after Cairo that has the largest concentration of Islamic monuments in Egypt Lying 65 km east of Alexandria, Rosetta dates back to the Protodynastic era , where Menes marched from Upper Egypt to capture the town within his drive to unite both parts of the country and the town was then named " Khito". In the Ptolemic era, the town was renamed " Poulbotine" after the Poulbotinium Temple , dedicated to the worship of of Queen Cleopatra. In the Coptic age, the town was known as Rashit, later converted to Rashid. In later epochs, the town came to known by its present name of Rosetta ( rosy in Latin ).

With its deep-rooted history, unmatchable civilization and everlasting monuments, Egypt has always attracted the attention and admiration of Egyptologists as well as fans from all corners of the globe. This has developed into what came to be known as Egyptomania. In this context, celebrations were held last July simultaneously in Britain and France o mark the bicentenary of the discovery the Rosetta Stone ( July 1799 )

Rosetta. with its strategic location between the Mediterranean and the western arm of the Nile , Rosetta had been an extremely important military site since early times. The town was witness to many important events in ancient as well as modern times. It is typically tranquil and highly green town with vast gardens, orchards and date-palm plantations , in addition to a multitude of beautiful historical houses, inns and mosques adorned with exquisite decorative inscriptions and woodworks.

As a result, Rosetta turned into one of the most flourishing Mediterranean harbors. Its warehouses were replete with grains, coffee, silk and many other trading commodities. Its warehouses were replete with grains, coffee, silk and many other trading commodities and its streets bustling with Armenian, Turkish, Syrian and Jewish traders.

Rosetta now covers an area of about 92 sq. km, with a population of about 163,000. The town has also an efficient infrastructure, stations, regional and international telecommunications besides an overland and river transport network that link it with other parts of the country.

Today, as a tourist attraction, it is best known for its distinct Ottoman era merchant houses, of which there are around 22.  Most are being restored, but a few are open for visitors.  With many Mashrabiyyas, the intricately carved wooden screens, the houses are usually three stories with each level stuck slightly out from the lower ones. The facades are relatively narrow, and the mortar is often outlined to create polychrome patterning in red, black and white.  

The town itself is an open museum, with 22 monumental residences dating back to the Ottoman era in addition to 12 mosques, mills, castles and public baths.

In no other town in Egypt there can found such unique collection of monumental residences, built with a rare type of brown, well-trimmed and pointed bricks. How these bricks were made still remains a mystery.

The houses reflect a high style of architecture, construction and carpentry. Designed to Islamic architectural style, the houses comprise Mushrabiyyas ( oriels), vast reception rooms, decorative inscriptions, in-laid sea –shell woodworks, domes and densely ornamented doors. Houses were provided with fresh water tanks, properly insulated to protect buildings against water leakage. Normally, each house had a drinking fountain ( Sabeel), made available for free to passers-by.

One of the outstanding landmarks of Rosetta is Abu Madour Tower , wherefrom Vivien Dinon, a major historian of the French Expedition monitored the famous Abu-Qeer naval battle between the British and French fleets.