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Sinai Peninsula, Arabic Shibh Jazīrat Sīnāʾ, triangular peninsula linking Africa v Asia and occupying one area the 23,500 square mile (61,000 square km). The Sinai Desert, as the peninsula’s arid expanse is called, is separated by the Gulf the Suez and the Suez Canal from the eastern Desert of Egypt, yet it proceeds eastward right into the Negev desert without significant change that relief. Usually regarded as being geographically component of Asia, the Sinai Peninsula is the northeastern extremity of Egypt and adjoins Israel and also the Gaza piece on the east. The Sinai is administratively divided into two muḥāfaẓahs (governorates): Shamāl Sīnāʾ in the north and Janūb Sīnāʾ in the south. The peninsula was inhabited by Israeli forces throughout the Six-Day battle of June 1967 yet was went back to Egypt in 1982 under the regards to the peace treaty concluded between those nations in 1979.


Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula as viewed from space.

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Egypt: Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula comprises a wedge-shaped block of are with its base along the Mediterranean Sea coast and its...

Two major regions might be known in the Sinai. The first region is the southern facility of high mountains, consisting of such peaks as Mount Kātrīnā (Catherine), key 8,668 feet (2,642 metres); Umm Shūmar, 8,482 feet (2,585 metres); Al-Thabṭ, 7,997 feet (2,437 metres); and also Mount Sinai, 7,497 feet (2,285 metres). The southern region is essentially composed the igneous rocks and is sharply incised by deep, canyonlike wadis (seasonal watercourses) that drain toward the Gulf the Suez or the Gulf that Aqaba. This gaunt hill mass is separated native the Gulf the Suez come the west by a narrow coastal plain, but on its eastern side it rises precipitately native the Gulf that Aqaba. The 2nd region, flanking this fixed on the north and also forming two-thirds of the Sinai, is a great plateau sloping from heights of much more than 3,000 feet (900 metres) bottom to the Mediterranean. It is identified by the extensive plain of Wadi Al-ʿArīsh, by a variety of islandlike massifs, and by large western and northern seaside plains that have extensive sand dunes.

A conspicuous ridge runs follow me the southerly rim the the Sinai in a an excellent horseshoe curve, indigenous which three key drainage containers have developed. The north (or Mediterranean) drainage basin, in which Wadi Al-ʿArīsh acts together a grasp stream, empties into the Mediterranean near the town of Al-ʿArīsh. The eastern (Gulf the Aqaba and Dead Sea) basin and the western (Gulf that Suez) container are both drained by a variety of small streams. It is approximated that the Sinai Desert receives more than 1.6 million acre-feet (2 exchange rate cubic metres) that water every year from regional precipitation. About one-fourth of this water flows on the surface ar as runoff, and a similar amount percolates to groundwater reservoirs, thereby offering excellent avenues for water conservation.

The Sinai drops within the good arid climatic belt crossing northern Africa and also southwestern Asia. Aridity is manifested in the Sinai by a degraded floor surface, sand-dune expanses, salinization, and also wadis. That less-arid climatic conditions formerly prevailed is prove by sometimes terraces of thick alluvial and also lacustrine deposits. In the Sinai’s northern, or Mediterranean, an ar of short relief, the climate in winter has a reasonably high lot of precipitation (5 inch <125 mm>); in summer it is dry and also intensely hot, and also in spring and also autumn it has actually dry southerly khamsin winds and occasional torrential rains. In the southern, or Red Sea, region, the climate differs due to the fact that of the like the mountain nature the the terrain. The influential peaks space covered with clouds transparent the year and with ice cream in winter. Again, in winter there is part precipitation in the southerly region; in summer, rarely monsoon winds native the southeast likewise account because that occasional heavy precipitation. The nights are cool, even though the daytime summer warm is intense. Prevailing irradiate winds in the Sinai are mostly from the north. Relative humidity is typically high on the coasts, getting to 74 percent along the Mediterranean and also 60 percent along the Red Sea.

Aside from freshly irrigated areas on the northern coastal plain, the vegetation in the Sinai Desert is largely ephemeral, however perennial scrub survives top top the steep southerly slopes and also on the plateau come the north. Succulents and also halophytes (salt-tolerant plants) are discovered on the subdesertic coastal plains, and also medicinal and fodder plants space widely distributed. Pets are rare, however the varieties represented encompass ibex, gazelles, sand foxes, leopards, wildcats, jackals, hares, hedgehogs, and moles. Falcons and eagles are indigenous, and there are also seasonal migrants such as quail, partridge, and grouse.

The scanty populace of the Sinai is mostly focused in the north fringe, whereby water supplies are adequate, as well as in the western fringe, whereby petroleum and also manganese industries have actually been developed. The settled population is engaged in agriculture, land reclamation, and pastoralism and in the petroleum, mining, fishery, and tourism industries. The nomadic Bedouin people migrate trying to find water and also pasturage however are significantly attracted come industry and agriculture. In the like the mountain south, a community of east Orthodox Christian monks resides in St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Petroleum, first discovered in 1910 at mount Tanakah, in the west Sinai, is the most crucial mineral exploited in the peninsula. Mineral ores taken into consideration feasible because that exploitation include manganese and also uranium. Assorted other minerals are additionally present, and building stones, dolomite, and sands and gravels are abundant.

Land reclamation and also irrigation efforts using underground water or water pumped native the Nile flow have allowed several hundreds thousand acres of floor on the northern-coastal plain to be newly cultivated. Barley, fruits, sector vegetables, dates, and also olives space produced, and wood trees have been planted. Day palm groves room scattered transparent the peninsula, and some that the area’s initial Bedouin inhabitants are still engaged in the nomadic grazing the livestock.


The Sinai has been inhabited because prehistoric times. The earliest composed information around it dates from 3000 bce, when the ancient Egyptians tape-recorded their explorations there in search of copper ores. The i of the Israelites through the Sinai is undoubted, but the route and also the day of your Exodus room still matters of debate. The Sinai is similarly famous together the step of the providing of the legislation to Moses, but there is doubt regarding which of the hills there is the really site. A road along the Sinai’s northern coastline served as the primary trade route between Egypt and also Palestine for numerous centuries, and it is likely that Egypt set up a chain of fortresses come guard this route. After the decline of the Egyptian empire, Nabataeans from Petra regulated the trade paths of the Sinai for 2 centuries, till they were beat by the Romans in 106 ce. The region then became part of the province of Arabia in the roman inn Empire.

During the beforehand Christian period, the Sinai came to be the house of a big number that hermits and also ascetics, particularly in the mountainous southerly region. In 530 ce the byzantine emperor Justinian I started building the monastery that St. Catherine top top the reduced slopes of mount Sinai. This noted a centre because that the scattered communities of believer in the area, and the monastery offered as a expedition site transparent the middle Ages. After ~ 1517 the Sinai formed component of the ottoman Empire and was administered through an main sent indigenous Constantinople (now Istanbul). Conditions in the Sinai deteriorated, and also traveling over there became daunting after Egypt became independent of direct Turkish ascendancy in the early 19th century. The Al-ʿArīsh area was the scene of fighting in between the Turks and also the brother during world War I, and at the war’s end the Sinai to be turned end to Egypt.

The Sinai to be administered through Egypt until the Israelis overran the peninsula in the Six-Day battle of June 1967. It was the emphasis of Israeli-Egyptian combat in every army confrontation in between the two countries from 1949 come 1973, the Giddi and also Mitla passes in the peninsula’s northeastern portion being the step of bitter fighting in 1956, 1967, and also 1973. (See Arab-Israeli wars.) adhering to the peace commitment reached in between Egypt and also Israel in 1979, the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt and demilitarized under the terms of the agreement. The peninsula was later the website of a variety of attacks by militant Islamist groups; generally targeting tourists, the attacks included those in Ṭābā (and elsewhere) in October 2004, in Sharm el-Sheikh in July 2005, and also in Dhahab in April 2006. Egyptian armed forces personnel and also civilian citizens of the peninsula ended up being the emphasis of assaults in the 2010s after the Egyptian Uprising the 2011 exacerbated a defense vacuum. Top top November 24, 2017, an attack on a Sufi mosque in Al-Rawḍah (near Al-ʿArīsh) killed some 300 worshippers in the most dangerous terrorist attack in Egyptian history.

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