May 19, 2012

To Suez and Sinai | Walking Through Egypt

To Suez and Sinai
Going east from Egypt to the Red Sea and thence to Sinai or to Mecca was one route through these lands. The journey northward up the Red Sea to enter Egypt from the east was made by travelers from India, until the Suez Canal opened in 1869. Many traveled on pilgrimage to Sinai with the Old Testament in their heads, making the country seem strangely familiar as it was to Egeria in 383 A.D.

Suez
Through the City of Qolzom (Suez), c. 1050 
Naser-e Khosraw
Going east from Egypt, you reach the Red Sea. The city of Qolzom is located on the shore of this sea, and is thirty parasangs from Cairo. This sea is a gulf of the ocean that splits off at Aden to the north and ends at Qolzom. The width of this gulf is said to be two hundred parasangs. Between Cairo and the Gulf is mountain and desert where there is neither water nor growth. Whoever wants to go to Mecca from Egypt must go east. From Qolzom there are two ways, one by land and one by sea. The land route can be transversed in fifteen days, but it is 3U desert and three hundred parasangs long. Most of the caravans from Egypt take that way.

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