Excursion to the Monastery of St. Catherine from Sharm El-Sheikh : picture of the monastery

South Sinai Governorate

Location of South Sinai

South Sinai Governorate lies in the southern half of Sinai Peninsula. This governorate is bordered by Red Sea except for its northern part. It takes the shape of a triangle where it is bordered with Red Sea in the south, by Gulf of Aqaba in the east, Gulf of Suez in the west, and North Sinai governorate to the north.

History of South Sinai governorate

South Sinai is one of the two governorates located in the Peninsula of Sinai, and one of the 27 governorates located in Egypt. The place was almost deserted for long periods of the Egyptian history. It witnessed small communities in some of its parts. These communities were either for Bedouins or Christian monks. During the last 100 years, South Sinai became an important place for its strategic location. This importance of location led to its transformation from an almost deserted place to a major tourist destination in Egypt.

As all the area located in the Sinai Peninsula, South Sinai was occupied by Israel during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and was delivered back to Egypt in 1957. For the crisis between Egypt and Israel, a United Nations peacekeeping force was stationed there until the 1967 Six-Day War. Once again, Israel recaptured the city after this war. There, Israel started some projects in the area which led to more commercial development of the area of Sinai. The Israelis built the town of Ofira, overlooking Sharm El Maya Bay and the Nesima area, and opened the first tourist-oriented establishments in the area 6km north at Naama Bay. South Sinai remained under Israeli control until Egypt has restored the Sinai Peninsula again in 1982 in accordance with the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.

With the restoration of Sinai in 1982, the Egyptian government launched an initiative to encourage the development of the governorate which is now an international tourist destination.

The administrative divisions of South Sinai governorate

The governorate is divided into the following municipal divisions for administrative purposes:

  • Abu Radis
  • El Tor (the capital)
  • Dahab
  • Nuweiba
  • Ras Sidr               
  • Saint Catherine
  • Sharm El-Sheikh
  • Taba
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