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During a short trip to Cairo, I did two long drives for meetings in Suez and Alexandria.  We returned the same day on both occasions.  Last time, I managed to drive around Alexandria – to at least see it having done the drive.  This time, I had a chance to see the Suez Canal, for about ten minutes,  after our meeting.  Ships are kept at either end and released in groups.  We were lucky to arrive at a time when ships were sailing past.

Opened in 1869, it’s nearly 200km long, 24m deep and about 200m wide.  All I knew about its history was the the Suez crisis of the 1950s.  Read its Wikipedia entry here to learn more.  I was not surprised to learn that it was dug by forced labour.  It made me laugh how the British opposed this – taking the moral high ground – only to seek to buy a large share a few years later.

To get a feel for the scale, have a look at the life-saving-tube thingy in the photo below.  It’s a bout a quarter of the way from the right.

The thing that impresses me most is not the way this place looks; nor is its rather horrible (and predictable) history intriguing in any way.  What I do love about it is how simple it is, and how much it has changed the world.


  1. Nice pictures Bu Yousef, and informative post. You are right, the simplicity makes a big difference in almost everything.

    • Mathai
    • Posted 5 June 2010 at 1:39 pm
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    whoa! thats a really big ship! Nice picture Bu Yousef. btw have you been to Aswan dam? I hear thats a massive piece of engineering.

  2. Even with its history the Suez Canal is damn impressive! Its a man made structure, I wonder how they are going to improve it! Very nice shots!

    • Summer
    • Posted 9 June 2010 at 4:40 pm
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    love the pics!

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