May 3, 2012

Damietta, c. 1000 | Walking Through Egypt

Damietta, c. 1000
al-Muqaddasi

Damietta City in Egypt
Dimyat (Damietta): you may travel in this lake for a day and a night, sometimes meeting with fresh water, and narrow straits, until reaching another town, which is better [than Tinnis], more spacious, wider, more open, more frequented; with more fruits, better construction, more water, artisans more skilful, clothes finer, more finished workmanship, better baths, stronger walls, and fewer vexations. Over it stands a fortress built of stone, it has many gates, and a large number of well-garrisoned outposts. A festival is held here every year to which the members of the garrisons come from all around. The Roman Sea is within shouting distance of it, and the houses of the Copts are on the shore. It is here that the Nile flows into the sea.

Damietta, 1908
Elbert Farman

Damietta, once a prosperous town and one of the principal seaports of Egypt, is now in its decay.

Sand-bars have been formed at the mouth of the river to such an extent that only vessels of light draught can enter and its commerce has been principally transferred to Alexandria and Port Said. The numerous minarets and imposing domes of its mosques and the high building along the bank of the river still give to the city an appearance of much importance. The architecture of its crumbling buildings attests its former prosperity and wealth. It still has a population of about forty thousand and is visited annually by several hundred small vessels, many of which come from Greece and Syria. It has interesting and well-stocked bazaars in that part of Egypt and the fish of the neighbouring lake.

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