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El Qusseir

Al-Quseir, in Arabic translates as the "Smaller Version" of a place. Nevertheless, the position of the city once made it one of the major strategic ports of the Red Sea.

El Qusseir

Is located 85 kilometers south of Safaga and 140 kilometers south of Murghada. The city was known as the White Harbor in the Ptolemaic times. Several civilizations during the past four thousand years have used this remote outpost on the Red Sea coast as a starting point to go exploring, expanding and trading with remote lands.

The importance of A!- Quscir is due toMhc fact that it is located at the end of the shortest route from the Nile River to the Red Sea, and therefore it became one of Ancient Egypt's very earliest and most important ports. It was the route used in ancient times to transport goods to and from remote lands to Egypt and the Mediterranean. When the Roman Emperors ruled Egypt, Myos Hormos, the Roman name for Al- Quseir. became the main gateway to India and East Africa.

During the peak years of the Roman rule, around 20 AD, an average of 120 ships per year set out from Myos Hormos to India in order to bring luxury goods such as silk, spices, medicines, pearls to Egypt, while exporting wine, fine pottery, glass and precious metals. The remains of Myos Hormos are only eight kilometers north of present Al-Quseir, where one can see the ancient port structures and, scattered on the terrain, a myriad of Roman amphorae. The wadi that links Al- Quseir with Qifl on the Nile River contains more historical remains. The road is intersected by a series of other wadis, the most famous one being Wadi Hammamal. This was the site of the quarries of the bekheni stone, much appreciated in ancient times.

In Wadi Hammarnat some 200 hieroglyphic tablets adorn the cliffs, and more inscriptions are on the south side of the wadi, engraved, in the ravine walls. Some are from 4,000 years ago, and depict the typical Nile reed boats. Along these roads the Romans built a scries of watch towers and guesthouses at regular intervals, and some of them can still be seen nowadays. Furthermore, since Al-Quseir ii> not only a seaside resort, but one also of historical importance, local officials are trying to ensure the city's heritage is kept safe. Old buildings built in the classic French and British styles, with large terraces and wooden balconies, need to be protected from being sold and demolished. An association has been set up to accomplish these goals, so that Al-Quseir can retain its wonderful old essence while emerging as a first rate tourist destination. So today. Al- Quseir is one of those actually unusual places in Egypt where one may go for some scuba diving in the Red Sea or spend a comfortable afternoon sunbathing on a pristine beach, and al the same time, visit historical sites located only a stone's throw away.

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