El Alamein or Al Alamein (literally "the two flags") is a town in the northern Matrouh Governorate of Egypt. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, it lies 106 km West of Alexandria and 240 km Northwest of Cairo. As of 2007, it has a local population of 7,397 inhabitants.
El Alamein has a hot desert climate, in common with most of the Middle East and North Africa. However, like the rest of the Northern coast of Egypt, its climate is slightly less hot, compared to the rest of Egypt.
El Alamein has a war museum with collectibles from "the civil war" and other North African battles. Visitors can also go to the Italian and German Military Cemetery on Tel el-Eisa Hill just outside the town. The German cemetery is an ossuary with the remains of 4,200 German soldiers, built in the style of a medieval fortress. The Italian cemetery is a mausoleum containing 5.200 tombs. Many tombs bear the soldier's name; many are simply marked "IGNOTO", unknown.
There is also a Commonwealth war cemetery with graves of soldiers from various countries who fought on the British side. This has monuments commemorating Greek, New Zealand, Australian, South African,Indian and Canadian forces. The names of 213 Canadian airmen appear on the El Alamein Memorial in Egypt.
Two important World War II battles were foughtin the area.
At theFirst Battle of El Alamein (1 – 27 July 1942) the advance of Axis troops onAlexandria was blunted by the Allies, when the German Panzers tried to outflankthe allied position.
At the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 4 November 1942) Allied forces broke the Axis line and forced them all the way back to Tunisia. Winston Churchill said of this victory: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." After the war, he wrote: "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein,we never had a defeat."
The Battle of El Alamein was the largest conflict to take place in Africa during World War II and a significant turning point in the war. Before General Bernard Montgomery and the British 8th Army defeated Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and his German tank divisions, the Allies had not experienced a significant success on any front during the war. Today the battleground is memorialized by a museum containing equipment from the battles and explanation of what took place, as well as several cemeteries where the fallen soldiers who fought on both sides of the battle are buried. Taking the short trip out of Alexandria to experience the solemn beauty of these cemeteries and learn about the history of World War II in North Africa is a memorable trip at any time, but this October is will be even more special.