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Damietta
Arabic: dumyāt



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Damietta

Damietta, Egypt
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Damietta, Egypt
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Damietta, Egypt
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Town in northern Egypt with 96,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), in the Nile Delta, close to the Mediterranean coast, on the eastern bank of the outlet of the Damietta branch of the Nile. It is the capital of the Damietta, or Dumyat, governorate with 1.1 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 589 km².
Today, the port of Damietta is about 13 km in from the Mediterranean Sea. Originally, Damietta was right on the sea, but due to its exposure to foreign navy, the port and town was relocated 6 km inland in the 13th century. Silting of the Nile has added the extra kilometres.
While of minimal importance for centuries, Damietta has in modern times again become an important port. Still it is only 3rd of the Egyptian ports on the Mediterranean Sea, with Alexandria and Port Said ahead. One reason for this are the limitations of the port which cannot be accessed by deep water vessels, cargo must be transported on river barges.
The industries of Damietta produce furniture, clothing, leatherwork and flour. Fishing is also an important activity.
Damietta is connected with other urban centres by rail and road, Port Said is 50 km east, Mansura 64 km southwest and Cairo 190 km south.
The name is most likely from the ancient Coptic, Tamiati.

History
322 BCE: With the establishment of Alexandria, Damietta would slowly lose out to the other expanding port.
638 CE: Conquered by the Muslim Arabs.
1219: Conquered by the Christian Crusaders.
1221: Reconquered by the Egyptian troops.
1249: Second conquest by the Crusaders.
1250: Retaken by the Egyptian troops.
Around 1270: The town is moved about 6 km inland by the command of the Mamluk sultan, Baybars 1.
1819: The Mahmudiya Canal, which diverts much of the sailing on the Nile to Alexandria, is constructed. This would take away much of Damietta's importance.
20th century: The channel of Damietta is dredged and the port is upgraded to relieve the overcrowded Alexandria.




By Tore Kjeilen