On our way to Sinai, we stopped at a rest stop along the way. While here, we discussed posters and a model of the Suez Canal in the rest stop; as we were about to cross it to reach Sinai. The canal is 300 meters wide and runs from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore it is around 160 km long (100 miles). The canal was started in 1856 and finished in 1868. It has no canals and can allow for passage of all but the largest ships. The canal was designed and construction was supervised by Ferdinand de Lesseps who was a French engineer. Great Britain became the largest shareholder of the canal a few years after it was built, even though they originally opposed the construction of it. In 1888, all major European powers at that time signed the Convention of Constantinople which declared the canal neutral and free passage was guaranteed during time of peace as well as war. Great Britain ensured the neutrality of the canal while the Suez Canal Company managed the canal. Over the next hundred years, turmoil between different countries lead the canal to be shut down and reopened several times. Eventually, peace ensured and it was cleaned of war wreckage and has been open since the seventies. Due to high fees of using the canal and shallow water, traffic declined in the eighties. In 1997, it was announced the there would be a plan to deepen the channel and reduce the fees. Today, the canal is used by many ships to get from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Once we were back on the bus, we were told we would be going through a tunnel 25 meters underneath the canal. This tunnel connects Africa to Asia. When you reach the other side of the tunnel you are in the continent of Asia, yet still a part of Egypt. It was neat to say we visited more than just one continent on our trip. In fact, we were all in four different continents through our entire journey to Egypt, including North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Posted at 4:02 PM by Katie Fretwell