The Red Sea, the ancient waterway that separates Egypt and East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula is the most biodiverse marine area in the Middle East. Effectively isolated from the rest of the world’s oceans except by narrow straits (and the Suez Canal for only about a century and a half), the Red Sea has one of the most unique ecosystems on Earth. This is especially true at the northern end of the sea and the Gulf of Aqaba which extends off it along the Sinai Peninsula. Part of the Northern Red Sea is protected in the Ras Mohammed National Park.
The area of the Red Sea is surrounded by some of the most ancient cultures, and ancient religions, on the planet. It is possible that early humans crossed the sea in order to depart Africa over a hundred thousand years ago, and it is also possible that the Israelites crossed it on their way out of Egypt about 3,400 years ago. The gateway to Jedda and the holy sites of Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea became one of the world’s most strategic waterways with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Serious exploration of the Red Sea began in the 1950s. Today it is one of Egypt’s (and Israel and Jordan’s) premier vacation destinations.
The Northern Red Sea is a highly saline body of water thanks to its minimal interaction with the rest of the world’s open bodies of water. Despite this it is incredibly rich in ocean life, and much of its coastal areas boast coral reefs. There are over a thousand species of fish, including over forty species of shark.
The Northern Red Sea area is an incredibly popular tourist destination, with resorts to be found in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Israel and Jordan. Diving and boating are both extremely popular, though visiting some areas may be difficult or even restricted due to ongoing problems in the region, especially in the Gulf of Aqaba area. Web: N/A
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