Arish or el-Arish is the capital and largest city of the North Sinai Governorate of Egypt and the largest city on the entire Sinai Peninsula, lying on the Mediterranean coast 344 kilometres (214 mi) northeast of Cairo. It borders the Gaza Strip and Israel.
ʻArīsh city is well-known for its clear blue water, widespread fruitful palmy wood on its coast, and soft white sand. It has a marina and many luxury hotels. The city also has some of the faculties of Suez Canal University.
ʻArīsh lies by a big wadi, the Wādī al-ʻArīsh, which receives flash flood water from much of north and central Sinai. The Azzaraniq Protectorate is on the eastern side of ʻArīsh.
Location of Arish City
History of Al Arish
El-ʻArīsh airfield, World War II
The city grew around a Bedouin settlement near the ancient Ptolemaic outpost of Rhinocorura (in Greek, “the place where noses (of criminals) are cut off”). The earliest historical attestation for the city is found in the Septuagint, Isaiah 27:12. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims misidentified the site as the Sukkot of the Bible. ʻArīsh means “palm huts” in Modern Standard Arabic. M. Ignace de Rossi derived the Arabic name from the Egyptian ϫⲟⲣϣⲁ(ⲓ) Jorsha, “noseless”, an analogue of Greek Rhinocorura.
New fortifications were constructed at the original site by the Ottoman Empire in 1560. During the Napoleonic Wars, the French laid siege to the fort, which fell after 11 days on 19th February 1799. During World War I, British bombers destroyed the fort. It was later the location of the 45th Stationary Hospital, which treated casualties of the Palestine campaign. The remains of those who died there were later moved to Kantara Cemetery.
Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, proposed ʻArīsh as a Jewish homeland since neither the Sultan nor the Kaiser supported settlement in Palestine. In 1903, Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, agreed to consider ʻArīsh. Herzl commissioned the lawyer David Lloyd George a charter draft. Still, his application was turned down once an expedition led by Leopold Kessler had returned and submitted a detailed report to Herzl, which outlined a proposal to divert some of the Nile waters to the area for settlement.
El-ʻArīsh Military Cemetery was built in 1919, marking the dead of World War I. Robert Lorimer designed it.
On December 8, 1958, an air battle occurred between Egyptian and Israeli air forces over ʻArīsh.
ʻArīsh was under military occupation by Israel briefly in 1956 and again from 1967 to 1979. Egypt returned it in 1979 after signing the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty.
In the Sinai mosque attack of November 24th 2017, terrorists killed 305 people in a bomb and gun attack at the mosque in Bir al-Abd in al-Rawda, North Sinai near ʻArīsh. Also, on February 9 2021, IS militants killed six locals.
Arish is in the northern Sinai and is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Arish is the closest larger settlement to Lake Bardawil.
Arish city is the most inhabited part of North Sinai governorate, with 164,830 inhabitants as of 2012.
El Arish International Airport serves the city. The construction of the northern coast highway in Egypt, the North Sinai part, finished in 2008, links El-Qantarah at the Suez Canal in the west to the Gaza Strip border, passing by Arish. The railway line from Cairo is also under re-construction, and it recently reached the “Ser and Qawarir zone” west of Arish. This route was formerly part of the Palestine Railways, built during World War I and II to connect Egypt with Turkey. The railway was cut during the formation of Israel. The North Sinai is a milestone for the Egyptian government planners to redistribute the high-density population in the Nile Delta. By accomplishing the transportation and irrigation projects, three million Egyptians will settle in North Sinai.
Its Köppen climate classification is hot desert (BWh), although prevailing Mediterranean winds moderate its temperatures, typical to the rest of the northern coast of Egypt.
The highest record temperature was 45 °C (113 °F), recorded on May 29, 2003, while the lowest record temperature was −6 °C (21 °F), recorded on January 8, 1994.