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Sharm el Sheikh History

This beautiful city has a colourful history. Despite its challenges in the past, the city has become a modern and safe tourist destination. Sharm el Sheikh is quite the success story – it has transformed from a city well-known for fishing activities to one of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. People travel from all corners of the globe to experience the city, and for good reason. A trip here will be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Historically, Sharm el Sheikh has been known as a city of peace. Many decades ago, it was an ideal meeting place for friends and organizations from Israel and other regions of the Middle East. Countries and regional governments come here to sort out their differences and work together to build peace and harmony. It is specifically recognized in the international community as a safe haven for tourists. The city is peaceful and calm, so you can rest assured that your visit will be stress-free.

image : (c) istock/thinkstock

Sharm el Sheikh History Facts and Timeline

Many years before the first tourists come to the Sharm el Sheikh’s crystal blue waters, the city served as one of Egypt’s most important ports. It is situated at the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula where the Gulf of Aqaba and Gulf of Suez meet. Over the years, it has grown from a mere sleepy fishy town into a hustling and bustling town welcoming over 10,000 tourists each year.

The number of tourists visiting the area keeps increasing every year. Not even the devastating 2005 terrorist attack that killed nearly 100 people could slow the tide of tourists visiting Sharm el Sheikh. This city is a safe place where one can enjoy world-class diving, beautiful scenery and unparalleled hospitality. It is an ideal home away from home and a place of merriment, joy, and peace.

Jabal Musa

Jabal Musa is said to be the oldest city in Sharm el Sheikh. This is the place where the Biblical Mount Sinai, where Moses climbed to receive two tablets containing the Ten Commandments of God, is located. Another important location near Sharm el Sheikh is the popular St. Catherine’s Monastery, which many believe was the site of the Burning Bush. The monastery dates back to the 4th century.

Arab and Ottoman Egypt

By the year 639 AD, Arabs had already conquered Sinai after a long, fierce battle. Sharm el Sheikh existed prior to the rule of Ottoman Empire, and became an important port named after the respected figure Sarm-us Seyh in the 16th century. There were attempts to mine gold in this city. Ultimately, the project was completely unsuccessful and was abandoned.

History of the Israeli Occupation

Israelis were the first of people who turned this lucrative tiny fishing spot into a formidable tourist destination. This occurred in 1967. Israel also occupied the city in 1956 during the famous Suez crisis. The port, however, collapsed the next year under Egyptian control. This was an important turning point in Egyptian history. The Israelis then took time to establish Ofira, a great settlement, located very close to Sharm el-Maya Bay.

Growing Tourism

Since 1982, Sharm el Sheikh’s tourism infrastructure has ever increasing. It has become the envy of many nations. Visitors happily admire the city’s desert scenery and mountains, exotic hotel complexes, and modern shops along the sandy shores. There are also strict environmental laws preventing the construction of buildings over a certain length or height, which helps to preserve the landscape. There are many things that inspire visitors to return to the city, but its stunning natural surroundings are most certainly at the top of the list.

City of Peace

Although most visitors come here mainly for pleasure, the city has also hosted a number of peace conferences. This was why it has been named a “City of Peace.” Sharm el-Sheikh also hosted 2006 and 2008 World Economic Forums. The city was put to the test by a terrorist attack in 2005, which almost ended Sharm el-Sheikh’s streak of success. Despite this and other challenges, the city of peace has continued to grow better each day, fulfilling the aspirations and desires of many tourists.

Old Town has an amazing history. There are many caravan passages and buildings to see that have lasted for over 2,000 years. Feel free to walk around the local market, interact with sellers, and get a good bargain while you’re at it.

This is another important site to visit. While many people come to Sharm el Sheikh for entertainment purposes, there are many others who come here mainly for religious purposes. Many tourists take a pilgrimage to St. Catherine’s monastery. Over fifty thousand guests visit the monastery from all parts of the world each year and UNESCO regards it as World Heritage site.

This is the biblical monastery where Moses allegedly received the Ten Commandments from God. It is considered to be a building of great importance and holiness. Whether you are interested in religious history or not, visiting a building that was carved out of a solid rock is still quite the site to behold.

This building was carved between 548 and 565 and yet it still stands strong. Seeing this impressive building is humbling and undoubtedly worth the trip.

Many world leaders (both religious and secular) have taken time to visit the monastery and pray with their families. To many, it is a place of solace, comfort, miracles, and wonders. Some people even report that their lives have changed significantly after spending time with their family and friends at St. Catherine’s Monastery.

The monastery is not meant for Catholics alone - people all denominations are welcome to come and pray. When you go, make sure you abide by the rules, which include silence and solitude. Respect the building, its history, and other visitors. Regardless of your religious affiliations, the Monastery is a welcoming place for solitary reflection.

The Red Sea packed with a plethora of activities. This is surely one of the most extraordinary diving destinations in the world, and it is not to be missed. Historically, the first people that came to Sharm’s shores were divers seeking to explore the underwater treasures. As of today, there are over 1000 identified species of marine life and 250 reefs. It is an unrivalled paradise for marine animals. If you go diving or snorkelling, be sure to obey all rules and use common sense. Some animals (like corals) are very sensitive. Look, but don’t touch. You may also want to invest in an underwater camera to document your adventure.

You can also go to Sharm’s dive school, where you can be instructed in all facets of diving. Some schools even provide PADI training courses. If you master the teaching very well, you will be swimming with sharks in no time. If diving isn’t for you, you can go snorkelling in the colourful rocky inlets and lagoons.

These are just some of the reasons why Sharm el Sheikh should be your next holiday destination. Egyptian culture is wonderful to behold; it should be treasured and celebrated. Culture is both a way of life and the identity of a people. Come experience the rich cultural heritage of Egypt - we guarantee you won’t regret it.

Enjoy your stay and best wishes!

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.