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Mediterranean > Egypt > Cities > Marea

Marea (or Mareia) and Mareotis: Marea was a village, then a city, in Egypt, located on the south side of Lake Mareotis, south and southwest of Alexandria. The lake, fed by canals from the Nile, gave its name to the district. The area developed into a major source of foodstuffs for Alexandria, producing in particular a renowned white wine exported all over the Mediterranean and supporting a large pottery industry to provide amphoras for the wine. The lake offered recreational opportunities for Alexandrians. In late antiquity, the shrine of St. Menas developed in the desert south of the lake, and the region served as a major transit corridor for pilgrims to the sanctuary. The decline of Alexandria after the Arab conquest and the atrophy of the Canopic branch of the Nile led to the shrinkage of the lake and to a reduction in demand for the area’s produce. The ensuing salinization of the area was exacerbated by deliberate breaches of the barrier between the sea and the lake in the Napoleonic era.


How to Cite this Article

Bagnall, Roger, "Marea." Electronic Encyclopædia of the Ancient World. EEAW, Inc., 2002. (Accessed ).




View from harborfront street

Port area: View of shops

Marea: Map


Survey: Port area Mareotis