Egypt's Red Sea coast runs from the Gulf of Suez
to the Sudanese border. Its mineral-rich red
mountain ranges inspired the mariners of antiquity
to name the sea Mare Rostrum, or the Red Sea.
Hermits seeking seclusion founded early Christian
monasteries here, sharing the wilderness with
camel-trading Bedouin tribes. Today, the crags and
limestone wadis of the Eastern Desert remain
relatively unexplored, home to herds of ibex and
gazelle with coral reefs, fringed by ancient
ports, teeming with underwater life, has a rich
maritime history which stretches back to Pharaonic
Ships have sailed, and sunk, in the Red Sea since
it was the main route to the Indies for Phoenician
and Ancient Egyptian traders. In those times, ship
loaded with copper, cooking pots and clothing
departed from Al-Quseir and Berenice and returned
bearing elephants, ebony, gems and spices. For
centuries, the Red Sea remained a scene of
shipwreck and adventure for smugglers, merchants,
pirates and pilgrims. After the opening of the
Suez Canal, in 1869, it continued its role as an
international trade route and "Passage to India"
for European travelers.
The magical dance of the reef continues ... each
night, with unchanging rhythms, in the silence of
a thousand noises in the ocean deep." David Doubilet, The Red Sea.
The thermal winds that once sped clippers to the
East still bring thousands of migrating birds to
the shores of the Red Sea, making it a paradise
for bird-watchers. Today, the ancient ports are
better known as some of the best diving and
fishing resorts in the world. Sunbathers relax on
white sand beaches, or find shade in the mangrove
lagoons that line the coast while snorkellers
explore the reefs. And the underwater wonder of
the Red Sea remains: a living tapestry of vibrant
corals and exotic fish, waiting for you to
discover its secrets.