Ismailia Travel Guide
The city of Ismailia is one of the most beautiful Egyptian destinations. It is situated on the Suez Canal and is the capital of the governorate of the same name.
Ismailia was built on the West Bank of Temsah Lake, and it is located along the Suez Canal. The city is situated almost equidistant from Port Said to the north and Suez to the south, and it is 120 kilometers east of Cairo.
With more than 700,000 inhabitants, the city has developed majorly in the past few decades with the building of the Gamal Abdel El Nasser tunnel, the construction of the Cairo – Ismailia highway, and many new hotels and resorts.
Ismailia is among the most charming cities in Egypt with its large number of gardens, clean, well-organized streets and neighborhoods, and a distinguished European style. It is a beautiful destination for one-day trips from Cairo or even as a lunch break for tourists traveling to Sinai.
The History of Ismailia
Ismailia is among the most recently established cities in Egypt, compared to other cities with a long history, like Cairo and Alexandria, constructed hundreds of years ago.
The city of Ismailia was founded with the opening of the Suez Canal on November 16, 1869, in the reign of Khedive Ismail, the founder of the Suez Canal. The word "Ismailia" was taken from his name.
The city was established and developed to house the European engineers and laborers who operated the Suez Canal when it was first created. This is why some of the neighborhoods of Ismailia still have a European atmosphere, and the villas and houses have a French architectural style.
The Inhabitants of Ismailia
Ismailia's demography consists mainly of three migration waves that arrived at the same time as the opening of the Suez Canal and the growth of a new city on Temsah Lake to the east of Cairo.
The first group of people who traveled to Ismailia and settled in the city were workers and laborers from Upper Egypt who participated in the digging of the Suez Canal.
After the opening of the Canal, they had two choices: remain in Ismailia, which offered many work opportunities at the time, or return to their homeland in the South of Egypt. Almost all of them stayed in Ismailia.
The second significant wave of immigrants to Ismailia came from other cities established during the digging of the Suez Canal, like Port Said and Suez. They found better work and a higher standard of living in Ismailia, which encouraged them to stay permanently.
The last group to leave their homelands and travel to Ismailia came from Europe. It consisted of the engineers and higher-ranked employees who worked in the daily operation of the Suez Canal.
However, after the nationalization of the Canal in 1956 by former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and the beginning of battles between the Egyptian army and Israeli troops in Sinai, most of the Europeans who had lived in the city of Ismailia for many years left the city for good and returned to Europe.
Tourist Attractions in Ismailia
Its wonderful green orchards and gardens can summarize tourism in Ismailia, beautiful Temsah Lake and its fabulous beaches, the Suez Canal, some historical sites and museums, and the most delicious fried and grilled fish you will ever taste.
These attractions have led to a steady increase in the number of tourists who visit Ismailia for leisure and to have a short vacation away from other crowded cities in Egypt like Cairo or Alexandria.
Moreover, many local and multinational companies and organizations arrange conferences in Ismailia. It. It is located near Cairo, and its calm atmosphere helps the participants focus during the meetings or workshops and enjoy themselves afterward.
Historical Sites of Ismailia
Although Khedive Ismail established the modern city of Ismailia in 1869, several historical discoveries have been made. They date back to the Pharaonic, Roman, Coptic, and Islamic periods.
When the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt started the excavation missions in Ismailia, they were able to unearth some fossils of several tombs that date back to the pre-dynastic era in Egyptian history, more than 5,000 years in the past.
Other excavation missions that worked in a nearby area called Tal El Kou' found several houses and tombs made out of bricks that date back to the Second Intermediate period, between the middle of the 17th century and the middle of the 16th century, during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt.
Due to the large number of houses and tombs discovered in that area, scientists are now working on finding the exact location of "Oris," the capital and headquarters of the Hyksos in Egypt.
Was this tremendous historical city located on the east bank of Ismailia in Sinai, in the north of Sinai on the way the Hyksos used to travel to Egypt, or in the same location as the tombs discovered in Tal El Kou'?
These scientific discoveries proved that the ancient Egyptians knew Ismailia in the pre-dynastic period and at the beginning of the dynastic period in Egypt in 3,100 B.C.
Due to Ismailia's historical importance, foreign universities have started studying the city and directing excavation missions to discover even more archaeological and historical sites in ad Ismailia.
Among the most critical current excavation missions in Ismailia is one by the University of London that was able to unearth many fossils and antiquities from Pharaonic times. The items belonged to defensive forts that the Pharaohs constructed to protect
the eastern borders of Egypt are currently being restored as tourist attractions.
The De Lesseps Museum
This museum was the residence of Ferdinand De Lesseps, the engineer who, on orders from Khedive Ismail, oversaw the construction of the Suez Canal in 1859.
The Museum of De Lesseps houses some of his tools, belongings, engineering plans, rare historical maps of the Suez Canal, and a wonderful canvas with the two letters S.C, or the Suez Canal, which was given to him during the celebration of the opening of the Suez Canal.
The De Lesseps Museum in Ismailia has some beautiful displays, including a copy of the original invitations sent to the world's kings and presidents to attend the grand opening of the Suez Canal on November 17, 1869. There is also a beautiful horse carriage that De Lesseps used during his supervision visits to the canal's location.
The house is fascinating with its European style of architecture, decorated ceilings, and fantastic wallpaper imported from France and the first ever to be used in Egypt.
The Horus Military Rout
On today's Egyptian-Israeli border, the Horus Military Rout stretches east of the Suez Canal to Rafah. During the Pharaonic period, the kings and rulers of Egypt carried out military campaigns against Syria and Palestine using this route.
This route was studied by many excavation missions from several countries like the United States, Belgium, France, and Canada with the participation of archeologists from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, and many items were discovered dating from different periods of Egyptian history.
Temsah Lake is one of Egypt's most beautiful natural lakes. Its charming atmosphere and the purity of its waters make it a fantastic place to swim or relax on the beaches around it.
Temsah Lake has a surface area of around 14 square kilometers, making it a relatively large lake. It also has resorts, beaches, cafes, and restaurants all along the lake, making your visit or stay even more incredible and enjoyable.
Fairouz Beach and Chalets
Fairouz Beach is one of the most beautiful resorts in Ismailia. It is designed as a ship and has a great restaurant that offers local and international dishes.
With 30 spacious chalets, football and tennis courts, a spa and health club, a swimming pool, a kids' playground, and a large amusement park, Fairouz Beach has been attracting an increasing number of tourists over the past few years. It looks set to continue becoming a favorite destination.