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CruiseDirection - Magazine Aug 2019

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Port Said

There is something to be said for visiting a city that is off the usual beaten Egyptian track of pyramids and the Sphinx. That is how the city of Port Said is looked upon. A suburb of Cairo, Egypt, visitors can use this port city on the Mediterranean Sea and at the northern end of the Suez Canal as a launching point to visit many of the other attractions in this part of the world. There is plenty of accommodation and many restaurants in Port Said. You may find that some accommodation is not quite what you are expecting as most places are clean, but very simply furnished with little or no amenities. Eating in Port Said is not a problem and the restaurants in the city usually have a catch of the day on the menu.  

The city is a fisherman’s haven with chemicals, processed food, and cigarettes being the town’s major industries. Cotton and rice are exported through here, but the city has become primarily a fuelling station for ships passing through the Suez Canal. A duty free port, Port Said has become the premier holiday spot for residents of Egypt and visitors alike. Visitors can easily access the city by taxi or train.

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Why visit Port Said ?

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A suburb of Cairo

Something to be said for visiting a city that is off the usual beaten Egyptian track

The city is beautiful with its old houses and grand balconies, a fine mixture of Egyptian architecture and influences from the many countries that were involved in the construction of the canal. It has a twin in Port Fouad on the eastern side of the canal and the two ports coexist with free ferries running between them all day long. Both are geographically isolated and sit on low sandy ground east of Lake Manzila.  

The city was started as a working camp for the building of the canal in 1859. A large portion of the city was actually built on an area reclaimed from the lake by a landfill. It was almost destroyed in 1967 and 1973 thanks to conflicts and the Suez Crisis, but it has been rebuilt and is bigger than it was. It has grown in to a resort town and there are many rental bungalows along the beach for tourists.  

Visitors to Port Said can watch the ships enter the canal or they can view the 19th century architecture that is located in the town centre. The National Museum of Port Said houses many pharaonic and prehistoric artefacts as well as Islamic and Coptic exhibits, textiles, coins, and manuscripts. The Military Museum has small displays of pharaonic and Islamic items as well as items from the Suez Canal crises and wars.  

Besides the canal, some beautiful gardens in Port Fouad, and the few museums in Port Said itself, there is very little here that would attract the average visitor. But if you are looking for somewhere that is away from the beaten track, quiet, calm, and not filled with the hustle and bustle of other cities, then Port Said may be for you.

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