Sinai is one of the most significant regions of Egypt. It is the only section of the country that is not situated in the continent of Africa, as it is located in Asia. The Suez Canal and then the Suez Gulf separates Sinai from the rest of Egypt. With cities like Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, and Nuweiba, many tourists who visit Egypt would spend two or three days enjoying the wonderful beaches of Sinai.
The Peninsula of Sinai with its distinctive triangle shape represents around 6% of the total surface area of Egypt. Sinai is divided into two sections; Northern Sinai where more than 800,000 inhabitants live and Southern Sinai where more than 600,000 people reside. Southern Sinai is where most of the travelers spending their vacations in Egypt visit as this section of the peninsula is featured with its marvelous beaches and exotic nightlife.
Geographical Location of Sinai
Sinai is located between latitudes 44 and 27 with the Protected Area of Ras Mohamed being at the Southern point of the peninsula, and between latitudes 20 and 31 at the city of Rafah and the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Geographically, Sinai can be divided into three sections; the first is the northern section that is featured for its many plains with cities like Al Areesh and Rafah. The second section is the middle Sinai and it is dominated with a large portion of desert. The third section, the Southern section, is featured for its high maintains like the Saint Catherine Mountain and the Moses Mountain which are the highest in Egypt. Numerous tourists visit this section of Sinai during their holidays in Egypt.
Since Sinai is a peninsula, water surrounds it from three directions. To the north, there is the Mediterranean Sea with the shore being more than 120 kilometers; the Suez Canal with shores being 160 kilometers is situated to the West of Sinai. The Suez Gulf with its shores being 240 kilometers is located to the South West of Sinai. Lastly, to the South East of the Peninsula, there is the Aqaba Gulf with shores that is longer than 160 kilometers.
Another significant geographical feature of Sinai is that its Eastern section is situated near the borders of Israel, being only two kilometers away from Taba, Saudi Arabia, and Jordon. This is why many tourists visit places like Petra , and the Dead Sea in Jordon after they finish their tour in Egypt.
The History of Sinai
Some scholars believe that the history of Sinai can demonstrate the history of the whole world. Due to its significant geographical location, situated between the two continents of Africa and Asia, Sinai has witnessed many important historical events throughout its history.
Many of the armies that conquered Egypt in different periods of historyhave passed through Sinai coming from Asia to the East.
This is beside the fact that Israel has occupied Sinai for a period of six years from 1967 till 1973. Sinai has suffered from two large wars between Egypt and Israel.
The holy land, as many people prefer to call it, Sinai has some significant importance for the three religions; Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Israelites have wandered around its deserted islands for more than forty years.
Moreover, Sinai was on the rout of the holy family when they resorted to Egypt they passed by Sinai to Reach Egypt coming from the East. Lastly, when the armies of the Moslem desired to conquer Egypt in the 7th century, they passed through Sinai until they reached the land of the Nile.
The presence of humans in Sinai can be traced back to more than eight thousand years. During the Bronze Age, many searchers of this valuable metal explored the lands of Sinai to look for metals to use to create their tools and different gadgets.
The location of Sinai and its reach metal quarries have attracted the ruler of ancient Egypt as early as the 30th century BC to control of the lands of the island in order to protect the Eastern section of the Egyptian empire.
For a very long period of the Egyptian ancient history, small settlements of inhabitants have resided in Sinai mainly as military strongholds and in miming locations as well.
In the 14th century BC, Moses has led the Israelites through the wild lands of Sinai during the journey mentioned in the Exodus.
With the decline of the power of the Pharaohs around the 5th century BC, the Greeks have taken control of Egypt and of Sinai as well. The ancient army rout of Horus situated in the Northern section of Sinai was transformed into a military road for the Roman armies with the ancient city of Pelisuim being the center of it.
The southern section of Sinai witnessed the escape of many Christians who resorted to its land to avoid the cruelty of the Roman rulers against Copts.
By the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire was spilt and the Byzantines took control of Sinai and they took Christianity as their major religion. This was why many Christian monuments and establishments were constructed in this period like the marvelous monastery of Saint Catherine
When Moslems took control of Egypt in the 7th century and with many Egyptian converting to Islam, Sinai became on the rout of Moslems coming from Egypt to visit Mecca for pilgrimage. This resulted in the establishment of new towns and settlements.
Afterwards, many Bedouin tribes, mainly coming from the East, resided in Sinai and established their own rules, customs, and beliefs that are still prominent until today.
The Egyptian Israeli conflict dominates the modern history of Sinai. Since the Israeli armies were able to take control of the peninsula after the war of 1967 after the defeat of the Egyptian army. For six years the Israelimilitary troops controlled Sinai before the Egyptian army was able during the war of the 6th of October 1973 to regain control of Sinai. Afterwards, with many political negotiations, all the lands of Sinai, including Taba, went back to the Egyptian authority by 1986.
Sinai today, the same as many periods of its long rich history, can be divided into two parts. The Northern part has witnessed many clashes and conflicts between the Egyptian army and tribes and terrorists groups.
To the contrary, the Southern is totally the opposite. With cities like Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba, and Taba, tourists from all over the world who visit Egypt enjoy their vacations in these cities peacefully.
Southern Sinai is famous for its wonderful sandy beaches, a rich underwater environment with marvelous fishes, coral reefs, and other magnificent creatures. Divers and snorkelers from all over the world visit Egypt to enjoy the beaches of Sinai.