All About Suez Canal: Construction Detail, History, 12 Tourism & Recreation and Trade & Statistics

All About Suez Canal: Construction Detail, History, 12 Tourism & Recreation and Trade & Statistics

The Suez Canal, located in the heart of Egypt, is one of the most iconic waterways in the world. Connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, it has played a crucial role in global trade and transportation since its construction in the mid-19th century. This engineering marvel has a fascinating history and has witnessed numerous developments and changes throughout the years. While the primary purpose of the canal is facilitating international trade, it has also become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. In this article, we take a closer look at the construction details, historical significance, and the impact of tourism and trade on the Suez Canal.

Construction Detail of Suez Canal

Construction Detail of Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is a 120-mile long artificial waterway located in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It was first opened in 1869 and has since become one of the most important shipping routes in the world, allowing vessels to travel between Europe and Asia without having to go around the southern tip of Africa.

Construction of the Suez Canal began with the vision of French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, who secured the necessary funding and permission from the Egyptian ruler, Khedive Ismail. The construction took 10 years and involved over 1.5 million workers from all over the world, including Egypt, Europe, and Asia.

The construction process involved several key steps, including excavations, dredging, and building locks and bridges.

Excavation: The first step in the construction of the Suez Canal was to excavate a path for the waterway. This involved removing over 75 million cubic meters of sand and soil by hand, since heavy machinery was not yet available. The workers utilized primitive tools such as pickaxes, shovels, and dredgers pulled by camels and donkeys.

Dredging: In addition to hand excavation, dredging was also used to deepen and widen the waterway. Dredges were used to suck up sediment from the bottom of the canal, creating a wider and deeper channel for ships to pass through.

Locks and bridges: The Suez Canal has two major locks, the Great Bitter Lake Lock and the Little Bitter Lake Lock, which control the water level and allow ships to pass through the canal safely. The Great Bitter Lake Lock is the larger of the two, measuring 900 feet long and 80 feet wide. It also has six chambers, allowing multiple ships to pass through at once. The Little Bitter Lake Lock measures 650 feet long and 80 feet wide with four chambers. The canal also has seven bridges, including the famous Suez Canal Bridge, which spans 2.1 kilometers. These locks and bridges were built using reinforced concrete and steel, making them durable and able to withstand the weight of passing ships.

In addition to these major construction details, the Suez Canal also has several other features to ensure its smooth operation, such as water stations, lighthouses, and pilot stations. The canal also has a service road running along its side, used for maintenance and emergency vehicles.

Overall, the construction of the Suez Canal was a remarkable feat of engineering, considering the time period in which it was built. Its construction brought about significant economic benefits, reducing the journey between Europe and Asia by 7,000 miles and saving time, fuel, and money for shipping companies. Today, the Suez Canal remains an integral part of global trade and continues to be a testament to the capabilities of civil engineering.

History of Suez Canal

History of Suez Canal

The Suez Canal, located in Egypt, is an artificial waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It is one of the most important and busiest shipping routes in the world, facilitating international trade and navigation between Asia, Europe, and Africa. The construction of the Suez Canal has played a significant role in shaping global history and has been a vital link in international trade for over 150 years.

The idea of creating a waterway to connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea dates back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians had previously constructed a canal in the area, but it was abandoned due to its inadequate depth and maintenance issues.

In the 19th century, during the height of European colonialism, the strategic importance of a navigable waterway between the Mediterranean and Red Seas was recognized by various powers. It would provide a faster and safer alternative to the lengthy and treacherous journey around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

In 1854, French diplomat and engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps secured a concession from the Egyptian viceroy to construct the Suez Canal. Construction began in 1859, and it took ten years to complete the project. The canal was officially opened on November 17, 1869, with great fanfare and attended by dignitaries from around the world.

The Suez Canal was an engineering marvel of its time, stretching over 100 miles (160 km) in length and excavating 97 million cubic meters of soil. It was constructed using the innovative technique of dredging, which allowed the excavated sand to be used as building material for surrounding embankments. The canal also had a system of locks to control the water flow and enable ships of various sizes to pass through.

The Suez Canal had an immediate impact on international trade, reducing the sea route between Asia and Europe by over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) and cutting travel time by half. It became the main route for the transportation of goods such as spices, cotton, and textiles between Asia, Europe, and Africa. The canal also transformed the economy of Egypt, which became the owner and operator of the waterway.

The Suez Canal has played a crucial role in many significant global events, including both World Wars. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, the canal was nationalized by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, leading to an international crisis and the involvement of various world powers. In 1967, during the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, the canal was closed, disrupting international shipping for eight years until it was reopened in 1975.

In recent decades, the Suez Canal has undergone significant expansion and modernization projects to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic and larger ships. These include the construction of a second shipping lane in 2015, enabling two-way traffic and reducing waiting times for ships.

Today, the Suez Canal is a vital artery of global trade, with over 12% of the world’s trade passing through its waters. It continues to play an essential role in the economic development of Egypt and the world, making it one of the most remarkable achievements in civil engineering and changing the course of global history.

12 Tourism & Recreation and Trade & Statistics of Suez Canal

12 Tourism & Recreation and Trade & Statistics of Suez Canal

Tourism & Recreation:

1. Suez Canal Cruise: The Suez Canal is a popular destination for cruise ships, offering tourists a unique way to experience the iconic waterway.

2. Viewing Platform: The Suez Canal Authority has built a viewing platform on the banks of the canal, allowing tourists to watch the ships passing through and learn about the history and importance of the canal.

3. Boat Tours: Tourists can also take boat tours through the canal, providing a closer look at the engineering marvel and the surrounding scenery.

4. Bird Watching: The Suez Canal is home to a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for bird watchers.

5. Fishing: The canal is a popular spot for recreational fishing, with a variety of fish species inhabiting the waters.

6. Beaches: The cities located along the canal, such as Port Said and Suez, offer beautiful beaches for tourists to relax and soak up the sun.

7. Diving: The Red Sea, which is connected to the Suez Canal, is a popular diving destination, attracting tourists from around the world.

8. Cultural Sites: The Suez Canal region is rich in history and culture, with several archaeological sites and museums for tourists to explore.

9. Water Sports: The calm waters of the canal provide ideal conditions for water sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

10. Desert Tours: The desert surrounding the Suez Canal offers tourists the opportunity to experience a traditional Bedouin lifestyle and explore the rugged landscape.

11. Golfing: Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at one of the several golf clubs located near the Suez Canal.

12. Local Cuisine: The Suez Canal region is known for its delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, allowing tourists to indulge in a variety of local dishes.

Trade & Statistics:

1. Important Trade Route: The Suez Canal is one of the busiest and most important trade routes in the world, connecting Europe to Asia and the Middle East.

2. Economic Impact: The canal has a significant impact on the global economy, with an estimated 8% of all world trade passing through it.

3. Oil and Gas Transportation: The Suez Canal is a vital route for the transportation of oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe and Asia.

4. Revenue Generation: The Suez Canal is a major source of revenue for Egypt, with toll charges and transit fees bringing in billions of dollars every year.

5. Expansion Projects: The Egyptian government has undertaken several expansion projects to increase the capacity and efficiency of the canal, making it more attractive to global trade.

6. Shipping Industry: The Suez Canal also has a significant impact on the shipping industry, with thousands of ships passing through it every month.

7. Traffic Statistics: In recent years, the average number of ships passing through the canal has reached over 50 vessels per day, with an average transit time of 11 hours.

8. Tonnage: The Suez Canal can accommodate vessels of up to 20,000 tons, making it a popular choice for large cargo ships.

9. Accident Rates: The Suez Canal has a relatively low accident rate and is considered a safe and reliable route for trade.

10. International Cooperation: The management and operation of the Suez Canal involves collaboration between several countries, including Egypt, France, and the United Kingdom.

11. Economic Zone: The Suez Canal Economic Zone has been established to attract foreign investment and boost trade


In conclusion, the Suez Canal is a vital waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and serving as a major route for international trade. Its construction was a significant engineering feat and continues to play a crucial role in global economics and geopolitics. The canal has a rich history, witnessing various conflicts and changes throughout the years. However, it has also become a popular destination for tourists, offering unique recreational activities and a chance to explore the surrounding region. As we look towards the future, the Suez Canal is expected to remain a crucial player in the global trading industry and a significant contributor to the Egyptian economy. With ongoing improvements and developments, the canal is poised to continue its legacy for many years to come.


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