Sharm el-Sheikh, or “Sharm” as it is also known, is an Egyptian city located at the furthest southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in the Janub Suia region. It is located between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai above the Strait of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba. Only in the last half of the 20th century has Sharm el-Sheikh evolved from a quiet fishing village to the world class luxury tourist and international meeting destination it is today.
Sharm el-Sheikh’s location has made it a desirable piece of property, and has been the subject of a tug of war during the 20th century. It was under the control of Israel in 1956 during the Sinai conflict, and then returned to Egypt in 1957. Israel again occupied the spot in 1967 during the Six Day War. In 1982, Sharm el-Sheikh came back under Egyptian control. Since then, Egypt has aggressively planned the development of Sharm el-Sheikh with an eye on capturing the region’s tourism market.
Tourism is, and according to city planners, will always be, Sharm el-Sheikh’s primary industry. With its jagged mountains rising from the desert, Sharm el-Sheikh’s landscape is both unique and stunning. Its miles of beaches, clean water and warm winters (and hot summers) make it a popular destination for those seeking a unique experience. Winter temperatures average from 59° to 95° Fahrenheit (15-35° C), while summer temps range from 68° to 113° F (20-45° C). The water of the Red Sea averages from 70° to 82° F (21-28° C) year round.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities here due to its renowned coral reefs, which are touted to be some of the best in the world. Sharm el-Sheikh boasts 250 coral reefs, over 1000 fish species, due to the large plankton supply, and half-mile deep (800 m) coral walls. Tiran is one of its best known diving spots, as well as Ras Mohammed, which is now a national park. Na’ama beach is also known for its beauty.
In addition to water sports, many come to Sharm el-Sheikh for its golf courses, quad biking and camel trekking. For the luxury-minded tourist, the city has many three and four star hotels and resorts to offer, world class shopping, and a hopping nightlife. In addition to its tourism industry, Sharm el-Sheikh has also come to be known as the “City of Peace,” hosting numerous peace conferences and summits, as well as political and financial meetings attended by the world’s leaders.