Unknown Citizen

Memorials are always witnesses of political history. This white marble memorial was built by the Italian community of Alexandria at beginning of the 20th century and dedicated to Khedive Ismail as it once hosted his bronze statue. After the revolution of 1952, the statue was removed and it was transformed into a memorial for the unknown navy soldier. Memorials can also narrate a big part of the city’s social history. An iconic landmark on the Alexandrian corniche that we all use to localize and get directions. For me, it is the gate of El Mancheya. A door that opens to a bigger world. A world that is big enough for an Alexandrian inhabitant who is used to the small and narrow streets. You would get lost among the too many people doing too many things at the same time. Suddenly and without alarms you enter the heart of daily commerce and industry. There you would meet people coming from every corner of the city. There you can find the informal minibus/مشروع terminal and their drivers shouting and raising their loud voices. Also there you would see the street vendors who occupy almost two car lanes. There you see men in suits going and coming back from the court. Men in Gallabya and women in loose dresses. Lots of policemen and soldiers. Youngsters dressed in skinny jeans. Foreigners in business with the French consulate or Senghor University. Despite the differences, they all have one thing in common, they are always running and they don’t make eye contact. Once you pass the gate you have to run like everyone. Once you pass the gate you become… unknown.

About Alexandria’s Third Places