South Sinai Governorate lies in the southern half of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. This governorate lies on the Red Sea except for its northern part. It has a long coast on the Red Sea – the Gulf of Aqaba in the east, Gulf of Suez in the west. However, it has wide frontiers with the North Sinai governorate to the north. Also, it takes the shape of a triangle when looking at it on the map.
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. This governorate had a low population for long periods of Egyptian history. But, 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. Undoubtedly, the importance of location led to its transformation into a major tourist destination in Egypt.
As for all the area in the Sinai Peninsula, the Israelis occupied the South Sinai governorate during the Suez Crisis of 1956, and they delivered it back to Egypt in 1957. Because of 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. Then, Israel started some projects in the area which effectively led to the more commercial development of the area of Sinai. By then, the Israelis built the town of Ofira, overlooking Sharm El Maya Bay and the Nesima area. Besides, they opened the first tourist-oriented establishments in the area 6 km north of Naama Bay. South Sinai remained under Israeli control until Egypt restored the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 under the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.
After the restoration of Sinai in 1982, the Egyptian government launched an initiative to encourage the development of the governorate. Nowadays, the South Sinai governorate is now an international tourist destination.
The South Sinai Governorate consists of the following municipal divisions for administrative purposes:
- Abu Radis.
- El Tor (the capital).
- Ras Sidr.
- Saint Catherine.
- Sharm El-Sheikh.
- Also, Taba.