Port Said - History


Pronounced as sid or sad, Port Said is a city in north-eastern Egypt, a port on the Mediterranean Sea, at the entrance to the Suez Canal. The city was named after Said Pasha, the khedive of Egypt and is built on low, sandy ground between Lake Manzilah and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a fuelling station for ships travelling the canal route. It is also a summer resort. The location, however, has a history that stretches back to the times of the pharaohs and was once a productive agricultural area.

Port Said was established in 1859, when work on the Suez Canal began. In 1869 the Suez Canal was opened, this is the beginning of decades of prosperity for the city. In 1904 a railroad to Cairo was completed. There were heavy damages from bombing during the Suez-Sinai War in 1956.

The construction of Aswan High Dam in the 1960’s cut off the flow of nutrients into the Mediterranean Sea from the delta. This resulted in a lack of food for the sardines that were the basis of the Port Said fishing industry, which has since virtually disappeared.

In 1967 there were new damages from the Six-Day War. In the year of 1973, bombing destroyed the centre of Port Said, during the Yom Kippur War.

The Diocese of Port-Said was founded in 1976 by bishop Tadros. The exemption of sellable internationally imported goods from custom duties and taxes greatly favoured the expansion of tourism in the interior. Economic life and harbour activities are closely linked to the existence of the Canal: shipping agencies, import-export firms, many imported merchandises. A new port is now being constructed east of Port-Fouad.

The economical base of Port Said is fishing and industries like chemicals, processed food, and cigarettes. There are now electric generation plants and computer and technical manufacturing. The railroad was expanded to link Port Said with other important cities.

Today, Port Said looks like a completely modern "town" in Egyptian terms, as it has become popular with shoppers from all over Egypt for its duty-free goods. 

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