The Suez Canal is Egypt's fastest double-passage artificial waterway, linking the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Its construction work was completed in 1869 AD.
It is well noted in history that Egypt was the first country to dig a canal across its land to activate world trade. The Suez Canal is supposed to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location; it is an important international navigation canal.
The Egyptians were historically famous for the excavation of canals, still from the pharaonic era. Already in the seventh century B.C., the 26th dynasty King Necho II connected the Nile with the Red Sea through an east-west oriented channel, reopened and strengthened by the Arab colonizers to strengthen the commercial relations between the new territories of the Nile and the motherland.
The first to consider a canal going from the South to the North was in the Venetians, who in the Middle Ages began the ideal project to cut the Suez peninsula and connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.
The canal was ignored and buried by the sand and it was reopened by the Arabs during the reign of the Caliph Omar Ibn El- Khattab and again it was forgotten and no more heard about.
The modern Suez Canal is created using forced labor, with hundreds of thousands of Egyptian peasants who were recruited compulsory to dig the canal. Egypt paid a very unusual price for digging the Suez Canal.
The canal remained mostly French and English owned for another 86 years, until Egyptian President Gamal Abd en-Nasser nationalized it in 1956, to obtain the funds necessary for the construction of the High Dam in Aswan.
The idea came back to be discussed in modern times during the Napoleonic expedition in1798. Though this program was begun in 1799 by "Charles Le Pere" a miscalculation decided that the levels between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea were too great (Were that the Red Sea was some ten meters higher than that of the Mediterranean Sea) and industry was quickly stopped.
When subsequent studies revealed that the two seas were nevertheless on the same level, the young French vice-consul Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), after numerous problems, finally began to dig in April 1859.
During a speech in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, on July 26, 1956, leader Gamal Abdel Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal amid deteriorating English-Egyptian relations. During the speech, the Egyptian leader pronounced the word "de lips" several times. It was this term that made the army and the chief engineers begin seizing and nationalizing the canal.
If you have a few hours in Cairo Layover, you can go see the Suez Canal during one of our short tours in Cairo day tours from the airport to follow the Egyptian government to create a new channel during the Suez Canal tour, in parallel with the current channel, where the new channel project aims to avoid the old problems of the Suez Canal from The North Caravan stopped for more than 11 hours in the Bitter Lakes region.
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