The origins of Port Said is that of a working camp founded in 1859 by Said Pasha to house men working on the Suez Canal. By the late 19th century, it was an important port where all the major maritime powers had consulates. Much of the city was built on a section of Lake Manzala which was reclaimed by landfill.
The City was damaged during the Suez Crisis, and again during the wars of 1967 and 1973, but the city has largely been rebuilt and today is a pleasant city of 400,00 people. It is also considered a summer resort by Egyptians and the beach is lined with vacation bungalows. The main street, with most commercial enterprises, is Sharia Palestine.
This is where the huge ships wait to enter the Suez Canal, and it can be a sight to behold. But also often missed, but of interest is the colonial architecture of the 19th century in the town center.
There is a National Museum in Port Said, which houses artifacts from most periods of Egypt's past, including pharaonic and prehistoric. Located on Sharia Palestine, the museum also houses Islamic and Coptic exhibits, including textiles, manuscripts and coins. There is a also a room devoted to artifacts of the Khedival family.
There is also a Military Museum located on Sharia 23rd of July. Along with some small displays of pharaonic and Islamic wars are artifacts from the Suez Crises and the 1967 and 1973 wars.
Across the Canal from Port Said is Port Fuad, which is really only a bedroom community to Port Said. However, if time permits it is a very pleasant place to take a stroll among the gardens and sprawling residences located there.
So what does New York and Port Said, Egypt have in common? Originally, American's very own statue of Liberty was to be placed not in New York but at Port Said. The Statue of Liberty was really inspired by the huge statues at Abu Simbel. Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of the statue designed the American Lady of Liberty as 'Egypt carrying the light of Asia'. However, the Khedive Ismail decided that the project was too expensive, so the 'Light of Asia' was sent to the US instead, where she became the Statue of Liberty.
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Last Updated: September 4th, 2011
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