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Pharaoh's Island

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The last trace of the crusaders

Pharaoh's Island, Egypt

Photo: Gernot Hutter

Pharaoh's Island, Egypt

The so-called Pharaoh's Island has nothing to do with any pharaoh, rather it was the the farthest point of their expansion. The castle was built 1115, protecting pilgrims travelling between Jerusalem and St. Catherine's Monastery.
Briefly it was under Muslim control, captured by Saladin in 1170, but abandoned in 1183. Still, this was enough to motivate its other name; Castle of Saladin.
The castle lies on a small island 250 metre offshore, offering easy and nice photo oppotunities.
The castle itself has been restored in modern times, and not according to ideal methods. Many parts are reconstructed using concrete.
The reefs north of the island offers exellent opportunities for diving or snorkelling, but one should be careful doing this alone as currents are reportedly strong around here.

Eat and Sleep
The Salah ad-Din Hotel is a 3-star hotel, rooms are good value for money, while the restaurant is slightly pricey.

Getting out to the island costs about 4 for a return ride. Some reports indicate that there is an entrance fee to the castle.

Going Next
50 km south: Nuweiba
10 km north: Taba
70 km south: Coloured Canyon
165 km southwest: St. Catherine's
115 km south: Dahab
210 km south: Sharm el-Sheikh

By Tore Kjeilen