Around 3100 BC, a unified kingdom was founded by King Menes. Since then, Egypt had been ruled by a series of dynasties for about 3000 years until the last ruler Cleopatra VII, who was committed suicide after the defeat in the battle against Rome in 30 BC. Rome took control of Egypt and annexed it. After the Emperor Constantine I transferred its capital to Byzantium (Constantinople) on the Bosphorus, Egypt played an important role to support the Byzantine Empire with its abundant grain production. The Islamic Empire conquered Egypt in 639 AD, and it ruled Egypt until the Ottoman Turks conquered Egypt in 1517. The French invasion of Egypt led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 and the expulsion of the French by Ottoman in 1801 led Egypt into chaos. In 1805, Muhammad Ali, the commander of Albanian regiment, took the power and established a dynasty to rule Egypt, modernizing its economy and military. But the rapid modernization led to the intervention of European powers and eventually the economic subordination to them. Suez Canal, built in partnership with France, was completed in 1869, but Egypt owed an enormous debt to European banks, which allowed the British and the French to dominate Egyptian government. Crushing the anti-British movement known as Orabi Revolution in 1882, Britain occupied Egypt. Britain placed Egypt under the protectorate in 1914 when Britain fought the war against Ottoman Empire, detaching Egypt from Ottoman Empire. The nationalist movements against Britain and for independence became much fiercer after the war, leading Britain to declare Egypt’s independence in 1923. In 1952, a military coup occurred against the background of the blistering discontent over the Egyptian monarchy seen as corrupted and pro-British, which led to the establishment of Egyptian Republic in 1953. Now, Egypt has one of the most developed and diversified economies in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service.
At five in the morning, a pilot boarded our ship. The ship started moving into the canal with the authorization from the Suez Canal Authority, as the sun was rising on the right side of the ship.
The Suez Canal has one shipping lane with passing areas in Ballah-Bypass and in the Great Bitter Lake, where the ships in a convoy from the Mediterranean Sea wait for the passage of the ships in a convoy from the Red Sea.
*DMC-ZS10/TZ20 records images in max.14-megapixel and DMC-ZS7/TZ10 in max.12-megapixel.
The Suez Canal was very calm. Our ship sailed northbound at a speed of about 15 to 20km/h. As our ship usually sailed at around 30km/h on the sea, the sailing speed was far slower in the Canal. But I felt it sailed faster than usual because the lands on the both sides of the Canal made me clearly realize that the ship was moving forward. I saw several bridges through the transit, but considering that the Canal is 160km long, the bridges were few in number.
The bank of the Suez Canal on the side of African Continent was rich in greenery due to the irrigation channel coming from the Nile River, and many modern buildings were constructed. The opposite side of the Canal, however, was a stretch of desert. I thought this scenery symbolized the meaning “the Nile River is Mother of Egypt”.