Sharm El Sheikh

Boats and mountains in Sharm city
Photo by Irina Nakonechnaya on Unsplash


Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian city on the southern point of the Sinai Peninsula. As of 2015, the population was over 73,000 people. Sharm El Sheikh is considered the executive center for Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate, which also encompasses the smaller coastal cities of Dahab and Nuweiba, because of the mountainous interior of St. Catherine and Mount Sinai. The city and holiday resort are an important tourism center in Egypt, drawing many international conferences and diplomatic events.

Name of Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm El Sheikh (literally “Bay of the Sheikh”) is also known as the “City of Peace” (Egyptian Arabic: Madinet Es-Salaam), due to the great number of international peace conferences conducted there. During Ottoman sovereignty, it was known as arm-üş eyh, and during Israeli occupation from 1967 and 1982, it was known as Ofira. The name of the city is widely reduced among Egyptians and many visitors to “Sharm” (Egyptian Arabic: (Arm), which is its popular term in Egyptian slang. In English, the name is alternatively spelled Sharm el-Cheikh or Sharm el-Sheik.

History Of Sharm El Sheikh

During the 1956 Suez Crisis, Israel seized it and restored it to Egypt in 1957. There was a United Nations peacekeeping force stationed there until the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel reclaimed it. Sharm El Sheikh remained under Israeli administration until 1982, when Egypt regained control of the Sinai Peninsula following the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. In 1982, President Hosni Mubarak declared Sharm El Sheikh as the City of Peace, and the Egyptian government launched a strategy to foster the city’s growth. Building projects such as mosques and churches were funded by both foreign and Egyptian businessmen. The city is now a popular worldwide tourist destination, and environmental zoning restrictions limit construction heights to protect the natural beauty of the surroundings.

map of sharm el-sheikh
en:User:Hardey, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Resorts at sharm el-sheikh
Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Prior to 1967, the city was little more than a temporary base of operations for a few local fishermen; the closest permanent community was at Nabk, north of Ras El Nasrani (“The Tiran Straits”). The area’s commercial growth began when the Israelis created the hamlet of Ofira, which overlooks Sharm El Maya Bay and the Nesima area, and opened the first tourist-oriented facilities at Naama Bay, six kilometers (4 miles) to the north. On the southern side of the bay, there was a marina hotel; on the northern side, there was a nature field school, diving clubs, a promenade, and the Naama Bay Hotel.


Ras Muhammad, Naama Bay, Sharm El Maya Bay, Nabk, Shark’s Bay, Hadaba, Al-Rowaysat, and Montazah.

Popular Destinations In Egypt

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