Until archaeologists from the University of Warsaw began to excavate this site in the 1960s, it looked like what the name suggests -- literally a "hill of rubble." Now, after the removal of more than 10,000 cubic meters (340,000 cubic ft.) of earth and the construction of a new building to protect the mosaics, Kom el Dikka is an example of the kind of Roman ruins that likely underlie other sections of modern Alexandria. Though the site is not huge, it comprises a column-lined street, a 3rd century A.D. theater with 13 intact tiers of seats that accommodated an audience of 600, and the remains of a villa with a series of truly lovely mosaics on the floor. The curve and size of the theater is impressive, but the most amazing thing about it is that it was originally covered with a roof. The mosaics, meanwhile, are worth a careful look for their intricately detailed and colorful depictions of local wildlife.

Kom el Dikka is an easy walk from the train station, or a 10-minute taxi ride from either downtown or, from the other direction, the Catacombs of Kom el Shaqafa. The mosaics of the Villa of the Birds are definitely worth the extra ticket.