Marina, also Marina El Alamein, ancient Leukaspis or Antiphrae, is an up-scale resort town catering mainly to Egyptian elites. It is located on the northern coast of Egypt, with an 11 km (6.8 mi) long beach, about 300 km (190 mi) away from Cairo, in the El Alamein area. The resort was the site of a bustling Greco-Roman port two thousand years ago. The area was ruined during that period by a tsunami that resulted from an earthquake that hit Crete to the northwest.
Leukaspis was a large port town, with a population around 15,000. The center of the town featured a basilica and a town hall that was converted into a Christian church. It was probably an important trading center between Egypt and Libya, and appears to have been a major center for Cretian imports. The settlement was destroyed in 365, when an earthquake off the coast of Crete created a tsunami. The town was not rebuilt, partially due to the crumbling state of the Roman Empire. Leukaspis was lost until 1986, when a group of engineers who were building roads in Marina revealed ancient houses and tombs. 200 acres (81 ha) of surrounding land was designated an archeological area, and excavations began in the 1990s. Prior to the site's discovery, the port area of the settlement was destroyed to make a man-made lagoon for a resort. The Egyptian government plans to open Leukaspis as an open-air museum in mid-September 2010. It is expected to bolster the economy of Marina, attracting tourists year-round. Officials also hope that it will increase tourism to the battlefield in nearby El-Alamein, the site of the First and Second Battles of El Alamein. The Egyptian government is also working to convert nearby Taposiris Magna, the suspected burial place of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, into a museum.
The resort is a gated community only accessible to those who live inside. Spanning almost 15 miles (24 km), this beach resort is split into eight different sections named Marina 1-7.[clarification needed] Limestone villas and chalets with landscaped greenery characterize this exclusive part of the Middle East.