A Guide To The Sites Of The Red Sea, Egypt
Modern Egypt is far removed from the imagery of the ancient Pharoahs, but relics of its glorious past remain in myriad forms from pyramids to sarcophagi. The Red Sea (sometimes considered a misnomer for “Reed Sea” since it’s chock full of reeds) has maintained an aura of mystery as the sea that was once crossed by hundreds of thousands of Israelites fleeing from the Egyptians in Biblical times. In recent days, diving expeditions have turned up some interesting discoveries of chariot wheels and human and animal bones within its waters. These findings are just some of the many underwater treasures that the Red Sea holds.
Today, there are a number of sites along the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea that are frequented by tourists for sailing, fishing, and yes, diving. Known for its clear blue waters and exotic marine life, the Red Sea bears over 800 types of fish and more than 200 types of coral species. Those who prefer to stay on land are
treated to the sight of migrating birds that visit the shore each year. There are numerous resorts along the coast that cater to the large annual influx of tourists. Some of the popular cities include Ain Sukhana, Berenice, Bir Shalatein, El Gouna, Hurghada, Mersa Alam, Al- Zuseir, Safaga, Suez and Zafarana.
Of these, Hurghada is by far the most popular and the largest. Home to numerous resorts and hotels, the site provides umpteen facilities for water sports, fishing, and diving. Berenice has a long history dating back to the Greek period when it was established by Ptolemy II Philadephus.
El Gouna boasts an 18 hole USPGA golf course in addition to facilities for diving and water sports, while Safaga was once the venue for the 1993 World Windsurfing Championships. Giftun Island offers visitors the opportunity to view the Red Sea’s underwater world from the safety of a submarine. The Island makes a great family destination with its range of stores and boutiques, beaches and historical sites including a porphyry quarry from Roman times.
Ras Mohammed, Elphinstone, The Brothers and Rocky Island are some of Egypt’s most famous Red Sea diving sites. The Red Sea Mountains are also a popular tourist destination. These red-tinted mountains from which the Red Sea is said to get its official name are accessible by camel or four wheel drive.
Christian pilgrims may be interested in the Coptic Christian monasteries spread out across the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea. These are some of the oldest in Egypt, and indeed, in Christian antiquity. The monks and novices resident in the monasteries accompany visitors on hikes to view the sites.