Ismailia Governorate

Ismailia Governorate

Ismailia Governorate is one of the Canal Zone governorates of Egypt. It is located in the northeastern part of the country; its capital is the city of Ismailia. It obtained its name after Ismail Pasha, who, as Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, oversaw the country during the building of the Suez Canal. It lies between the other two Canal governorates; Port Said Governorate, in the Northern part of Egypt and the Suez Governorate.

Location of Ismailia Governorate

Ismailia lies on the eastern border of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the middle of the Suez Canal. The Sinai and the Suez Canal border it to the east, penetrating Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes. However, to the west, it neighbours the eastern border of the delta along the Damietta branch and to the south is the road between Suez and Cairo. However, Port Said and Lake Manzala neighbour it to the north.


The city of Ismailia is 110 km away from Cairo Airport. The total area of the governorate is 5066 km2, distributed over the governorate centres. The scope of Ismailia City alone is 1323.5 km², the governorate’s population is about 1,300,000 people, and the city of Ismailia is 471,000.

History of Ismailia Governorate

Ismailia was officially established during the reign of Said Pasha, when the foundation stone (the city of Timsah) was laid on “The twenty-seventh of April, 1862”. Furthermore, it was named thus because it was located north of Lake Timsah.

On the fourth of March 1863, a large ceremony was held by the French Canal Company. Many kings and heads of the world attended the legendary opening ceremony of the Suez Canal on the eighteenth of November 1869. This event marked the actual launch of Ismailism in the modern era. In January 1960, Law No. 24 of 1960 was issued establishing the Ismailia Governorate. Thus, the city was named Ismailia after the Khedive Ismail, the ruler of Egypt at that time.

The governorate includes part of the Sinai Peninsula (since 1979) with a depth of 30 km east of the canal and a length of about 80 km.

Municipal divisions

The governorate comprises municipal divisions, with a total estimated population as of July 2017 of 1,309,474. There are four kism, five markaz and one new city in the Ismailia governorate.

The divisions are generally seven: Ismailia, the capital, Tell El Kebir, Abu Suwir, Qassasin, Fayid, Qantara West and Qantara East.

Population of Ismailia Governorate

According to population estimates, in 2015, most residents in the governorate lived in rural areas, with an urbanization rate of only 45.4%. Out of an estimated 1,178,641 people residing in the governorate, 643,778 people live in rural compared to only 534,863 in urban areas.

Cities and towns

As of 2017, seven cities (or towns) in Ismailia had a population of over 15,000 inhabitants.

Cities and towns with over 15,000 inhabitants

  • Abu Suwir El Mahata
  • Ismalia
  • El Qantara
  • El Qantara El Sharqiya
  • New Kasaseen
  • Tell El Kebir
  • Besides, Fayid

Industrial zones

According to the Egyptian Governing Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), in affiliation with the Ministry of Investment (MOI), the following industrial zones are located in this governorate:

  • Al Qantara Shark
  • The first industrial zone
  • Technology Valley
  • The second industrial zone
  • Besides, Abu Khalifa

Annual film festival

Hashim El Nahas founded the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts and initially considered establishing it in Luxor. Instead, this festival has been celebrating its annual events in Ismailia Governorate. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Ismailia Governorate, the National Cinema Center and other sponsors.

Ismailia Canal

The Ismailia Governorate is on the banks of the Suez Canal, and its Ismailia Canal extends from the Nile River near Cairo to the Suez Canal at the city of Ismailia, on Lake Timsah. The government built the Ismailia Canal to provide fresh water to workers during the building of the Suez Canal. In addition, the Suez Canal Authority headquarters exists in Ismailia.

Conflicts and wars

From 1967 to 1970, Ismailia became a war zone. Therefore, it witnessed huge damage in the conflict with Israel. Further, the area could rebuild after Egypt and Israel negotiated a cease-fire in 1973. No wonder Ismailia has seen many battles in and around it. These fights included at the end of the combat in the famous Battle of Ismailia.

Fishing landing sites

There are several official fishing landing sites in Ismailia. One is at Lake Timsah and the other at Bitter Lake.

UN sustainable programme

After a successful SIP (Sustainable Ismailia Programme) from 1992 to 1997, the United Nations expanded the project to include the entire Governorate of Ismailia, calling it SGIP (Sustainable Ismailia Governorate Programme). In general, its goal is to work with local partners to improve the communities in Ismailia.

Distance between Ismailia and the rest of the governorates of Egypt

From Ismailia to each of the following:

Climate of Ismailia Governorate

Three patterns characterize Ismailia’s climate:

  • Cold winter tends to warm for long periods
  • Transitional, variable, light rain
  • Moderate summer with a tendency to humidity

The year is moderate, and what distinguishes Ismailia also is the purity of its atmosphere, sky, and freedom from pollution factors.