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Tall Al Kebir Travel Guide

The city of Tall al Kebir is 75 km south of Port Said at an altitude of 29m and is located on the edge of the desert. It is also not far from Cairo, being only 110 km away. This place is also known as Tel-el-Kebir (great mound) by many locals. Tall al Kebir lies in the Ismailiya governate of Egypt. The modern city of Matariyah which was known as City of On in ancient times located to the south-west of the mound is believed to be the very first place where the cotton plant was cultivated in Egypt. The ruins of this ancient city were also used as a camp by the Egyptian troops. The city of Tall al Kebir is most famous for being the site of the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir.

 

Getting To Tall al Kebir

 

The Cairo International Airport is just 60 km from Tall al Kebir and the local airport of Ramadan and Shark Elowainat are also only few kilometers away. By road, the city is just 4 km away from the Isamiliya-Zagazig road. There are a few hotels or one can also just stop by the town at other nearby hotels. A taxi can be arranged through many of the travel agents who conduct such tours.

 

Importance of Tall al Kebir

 

The city of Tall al Kebir was important during both world wars but the most important event that has fetched name for the city is undoubtedly the Battle of Tel-el Kebir. The Tel el Soughayar which is known as the small mound has Pharaonic remains and storehouse buildings and also some coins belonging to the Greco-Roman period. In 1832, when Egyptian troops captured the city of Jaffa in Palestine, Egyptian Muslims settled around the town and founded many villages. One of the villages was named Abu Kabir in fond memory of their hometown Tall al Kebir and this gives the city a strong connection with the village in Palestine.

 

The Historic Battle of Tall al Kebir

 

In 1882 the British army under General Wolseley fought the Egyptians who were led by Ahmed Urabi. The Egyptians were preventing the British army from reaching Cairo. At the city of Tall al Kebir owing to the flat ground and desert, the British army decided to attack their enemies at dawn and marched through the desert in the night aided by the stars. What followed was an intense fight, but the sudden attack proved disastrous for the Egyptian army and they had to flee. The 1882 Egyptian campaign was also the last campaign where the British soldiers wore their infamous red coats.

 

The Importance of Tall al Kebir In The World Wars

 

Though Tall al Kebir may have been described as a dirty place by some soldiers during World War I, it was a training center for many soldiers of First Australian Imperial Force. The city also served as a prisoner of war camp as well as an Australian stationery hospital. During the Second World War, Tall al Kebir was the location of a very large ordnance depot and also had a base vehicle depot which was in use during the war and for several years after the war.

 

War Memorial Cemetery

 

The War Memorial cemetery is situated east of the railway station and the Ismailia canal. The cemetery was used from 1915 to 1920 and was later enlarged to hold many other graves which were transferred from other sites. It now has 526 graves from the Second World War and 65 from the First World War. There are also a few graves of British soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Tall al Kebir.

 

Tall al Kebir Medals

 

These medals are collector’s items and are available for purchase on many internet sites. The

The city of Tall al Kebir is 75 km south of Port Said at an altitude of 29m and is located on the edge of the desert. It is also not far from Cairo, being only 110 km away. This place is also known as Tel-el-Kebir (great mound) by many locals. Tall al Kebir lies in the Ismailiya governate of Egypt. The modern city of Matariyah which was known as City of On in ancient times located to the south-west of the mound is believed to be the very first place where the cotton plant was cultivated in Egypt. The ruins of this ancient city were also used as a camp by the Egyptian troops. The city of Tall al Kebir is most famous for being the site of the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir.

 

Getting To Tall al Kebir

 

The Cairo International Airport is just 60 km from Tall al Kebir and the local airport of Ramadan and Shark Elowainat are also only few kilometers away. By road, the city is just 4 km away from the Isamiliya-Zagazig road. There are a few hotels or one can also just stop by the town at other nearby hotels. A taxi can be arranged through many of the travel agents who conduct such tours.

 

Importance of Tall al Kebir

 

The city of Tall al Kebir was important during both world wars but the most important event that has fetched name for the city is undoubtedly the Battle of Tel-el Kebir. The Tel el Soughayar which is known as the small mound has Pharaonic remains and storehouse buildings and also some coins belonging to the Greco-Roman period. In 1832, when Egyptian troops captured the city of Jaffa in Palestine, Egyptian Muslims settled around the town and founded many villages. One of the villages was named Abu Kabir in fond memory of their hometown Tall al Kebir and this gives the city a strong connection with the village in Palestine.

 

The Historic Battle of Tall al Kebir

 

In 1882 the British army under General Wolseley fought the Egyptians who were led by Ahmed Urabi. The Egyptians were preventing the British army from reaching Cairo. At the city of Tall al Kebir owing to the flat ground and desert, the British army decided to attack their enemies at dawn and marched through the desert in the night aided by the stars. What followed was an intense fight, but the sudden attack proved disastrous for the Egyptian army and they had to flee. The 1882 Egyptian campaign was also the last campaign where the British soldiers wore their infamous red coats.

 

The Importance of Tall al Kebir In The World Wars

 

Though Tall al Kebir may have been described as a dirty place by some soldiers during World War I, it was a training center for many soldiers of First Australian Imperial Force. The city also served as a prisoner of war camp as well as an Australian stationery hospital. During the Second World War, Tall al Kebir was the location of a very large ordnance depot and also had a base vehicle depot which was in use during the war and for several years after the war.

 

War Memorial Cemetery

 

The War Memorial cemetery is situated east of the railway station and the Ismailia canal. The cemetery was used from 1915 to 1920 and was later enlarged to hold many other graves which were transferred from other sites. It now has 526 graves from the Second World War and 65 from the First World War. There are also a few graves of British soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Tall al Kebir.

 

Tall al Kebir Medals

 

These medals are collector’s items and are available for purchase on many internet sites. The Tall al Kebir medals are also called the Egyptian medals. These medals were awarded for military actions during the 1882 battle. The ones issued in 1882 have “1882” engraved just below the Sphinx. The second version did not have “1882” on it. The Recipient’s name, rank, number, and regiment were engraved on the edge. The medals can also be found in many museums.

 

The Battle at Tall al Kebir has imprinted the name of Tall al Kebir in history books. This small place may not offer much to the avid tourists but the graves of all the brave ones who lost their lives in the wars certainly lends a feeling of gravitas to any visit.

 

Tourists who visit this page also visit the following pages:

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