Sharm el-Sheikh is sometimes called the “City of Peace“, referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there. It was known as Sharm-üş Şeyh (Sharm ush-Sheikh, “bay of the Sheikh” in Arabic) during Ottoman rule and was known as Ofira during Israeli occupation between 1967 and 1982. Among Egyptians, the name of the city is commonly shortened to “Sharm”.
Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Arab world. But there are also some very good reasons to visit it if you are not the common tourist, who likes to lay on the beach all day. It is one of the finest diving spots in the world and a trip into the desert is an unforgettable adventure.
The Sinai Peninsula is a remote desert mountain range. The rocky mountains are parted from the deep-blue sea by a flat desert strip. This combination of desert and sea is an incredible sight and makes you believe you are on a different planet.
About 40 years ago, Sharm el-Sheikh was nothing but a small fishing village with about 100 Bedouin citizens. When Sinai was occupied by Israel in 1967 Sharm el-Sheikh started to develop as a tourist destination (like the rest of the peninsula). Israelis evacuated Sinai between 1979 and 1982, following the signing of a peace agreement between the two countries. Since the 1980’s the Egyptians have been continuing the development of Sharm where the Israelis left. Sharm’s 100 grew into a bustling 10,000 population. There is now a nice promenade, a Hard Rock Cafe, one of the most modern hospitals in Egypt and so on.
The city has played host to a number of important Middle Eastern peace conferences, including the 4 September 1999 agreement to restore Palestinian self-rule over the Gaza Strip. A second summit was held at Sharm on 17 October 2000 following the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, but it failed to end the violence. A summit was held in the city on 3 August 2005 on developments in the Arab world such as the situation in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008 was also hosted by Sharm el-Sheikh.
Around the city of Sharm el Sheikh, a number of important historical landmarks stand out and are not to be overlooked. Of interest to visiting tourists, the Chapel of the Burning Bush is an attractive building and dates back to the 6th century, while St. Catherine’s Monastery is well-known in the Sharm el Sheikh area and one of the world’s most historical Christian monasteries. Also worth searching out is the Seven Elders of Israel Amphitheatre, an important religious monument located on Mount Sinai and easy to spot. More information about Sharm el Sheikh Landmarks.
The average temperatures during the winter months (November to March) range from 15 to 35 degrees Celsius (59-95°F) and during the summer months (April to October) from 20 to 45 degrees Celsius (68-113°F). The temperature of the Red Sea in this region ranges from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius (70-84°F) over the course of the year.
There are many popular tourist attractions and hotspots around the city of Sharm el Sheikh, which never fail to draw in the crowds. After a day of scuba diving or snorkelling in the surrounding clear, turquoise waters, or simply sunbathing on the beach, be sure to head to the Burning Bush or take a day out and visit a national water park. Also, a trip to Mount Sinai is an absolute must for every visitor staying here. Below are Sharm el Sheikh’s most visited tourist attractions and things to do.