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 Marsa Alam

Marsa Alam is a small but important city.

It is located 130km South of El Quseir and 270 km south of Hurghada. Edfu at the Nile valley lays 220 km to the west. Marsa Alam has about 6000 inhabitants. They are fishermen, raise sheep, goats and camels or work in mining cutting marble, granite and philosopher stone. Mining here has been done since ancient times. During the Pharaonic and Roman times the desert around Marsa Alam was known for it's resources of gold, emeralds and semi precious stones. The rise of tourism in the area has provided additional jobs for the community.  

The local people are originally represented by two tribes, the Al Ba Abda and the Al Basharya. They lived in the eastern desert for a long time and the ancient Egyptians used them to protect Egypt's eastern borders. Later these tribes mixed with the Arabs who introduced Islam. The Al Ba Aabda speak Arabic but have, like Al Basharya, a private language called Tebdawi or Badawit, this language is only spoken and does not exist in writing. Their main work is keeping goats, sheep and camels and they are also well known for making coal and carbonizing old dead trees.

The government have now started to build houses for the Bedouins and they now have access to services such as hospitals, medical centres and schools.

Marsa Alam sits on the T-junction between the Red Sea coast road and the road to Edfu. This road which was probably built by Ptolemy the 2nd during the Greek period, passes through many historic places such as Wadi Baramiya where ancient Egyptians mined much of their gold, or Wadi Miya where a temple was built by Seti the 1st.

The fantastic sandy beaches with their lagoons of turquoise coloured water and virgin reefs provide perfect conditions for all kinds of water activities. Marsa Alam is famous for diving and was recently discovered by kite surfers for it's excellent wind conditions.

Diving sites such as Elphinstone reef, Dolphin house, Fury shoals, Zabargad or Daedlus attract divers from all over the world.   

The surrounding desert is untouched by tourism. Besides its natural beauty it has many archaelogical sites that is visited by desert safari companies.

Wadi El Jimal, one of the most beautiful natural parks in Egypt, is located south of Marsa Alam. There is much wildlife and many historical sites dating from Ptolemaic and Roman times.

Many tourist villages and luxurious hotels have been built along the coast of Marsa Alam. Since Marsa Alam has it's own airport it is easy for tourists to travel to.

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