Cleopatra was as sophisticated as her forebears in the matter of urban planning and architecture. She doubtless thought the Egyptian people would acclaim her if she maintained and enhanced Egypt's urban centers and provided her citizens with buildings in which they could conduct their public and private lives with ease. As Queen of Egypt, she was expected to do no less, especially because she was in a long line of kings and queens who had provided such amenities. At the same time, she was undoubtedly shrewd enough to recognize that presenting the Egyptian populace with the kinds of gifts that were likely to endure physically would ensure lasting fame for her.
There was an illustrious history in Egypt of building cities and supplying them with monuments, beginning with the pharaohs, whose temples and sphinxes remained in Cleopatra's time the most distinctive characteristic of the Egyptian landscape. Then under Alexander the Great, who conquered Egypt in 331 B.C., the country's most important city began to take shape. Alexander's plan was to establish a city at the western mouth of the Nile River and to have it serve as the locus of a Greek colony. It would bear his name and would be the first city in Egypt to possess the appellation of its founder and not that of a god or mythological creature. The site Alexander chose was the nondescript seaside town of Ra-Kedet, or Rhakotis in Greek. It was in 304 B.C that one of Alexander's Macedonian generals was selected to locate a dynasty there. In the course of two