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Marsa Matruh

White sandy beaches and crystal-clear sea, in a circular bay
The western coast of Egypt is not just made up of soft sandy beaches and crystal-clear sea but also a jagged coastline with deep crevices.
 
 Landscape of Marsa Matruh city
Known as Caribbean Egypt, this section of the Egyptian coast also offers the opportunity to discover a series of historic monuments of an ancient and more recent past. Your trip can begin in Mersa Matruh, a place of unexpected beauty, which is said was founded by Alexander the Great, and then continue on to Siwa to pay homage to one of most powerful gods in Ancient Egypt, Amon.
 
View of the beach of Marsa Matruh
Mersa Matruh is protected by a ring of natural rocks some seven kilometres long which acts as a breakwater; the sea, therefore, as well as being spectacular due to its intense turquoise colour, is always calm. Many of the beaches have evocative names: Cleopatra beach, in honour of the beautiful queen who loved to bathe in this sea, Ra-as Al HakmaAl-Abyad and Agiba, which, not by chance, means wonder, due to its beautiful natural caves and bays just waiting to be discovered.
 
Agiba beach of Marsa Matruh
In addition to spending tranquil days on the beach and in the sea in the area, there are also many historic sites, remnants of an event-filled past, such as theremains of the anchorage of a naval fleet dating back to the era of the Ptolemaic pharaohs, a Coptic chapel and a Roman Museum, created inside a cave where it seems the German general Erwin Rommel withdrew to complete his military plans during World War II. The museum displays weapons and tools of the period.
 
The coral reef
Approximately 200 kilometres from the town, we find the historic and legendary El Alamein, which commemorates the decisive battles that involved events of great valour, also by Italian soldiers - again during the last World War. The first event occurred in 1942 when the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan) attempted without success to advance towards Alexandria, and the second when the Eighth Army clashed with the troops of the German general Rommel, obliging him to retreat to Tunisia.
 
Continuing along the road that leads to Abu Mina, you can admire the very beautiful Coptic monastery, Deir Mari Mina, built in honour of one of the most famous and much-loved Egyptian saintsSaint Menas, who was tortured and killed for his Christian faith by the governors of Asia Minor in the third century. Saint Menas is a much adored saint and the site is visited each year by thousands of pilgrims who come to pray and ask for miracles. The place enjoys such fame that it is considered a paleo-Christian Lourdes.
 
Spirituality, history and fashionable holidays alternate in this section of Egyptian coast. In fact the bathing centre of Agami, known as the ‘pearl of the Mediterranean’, has been a very popular beach with the international jet set since the nineteen-fifties.
 
The typical beach with natural rocks in Marsa Matruh
We then come across the celebrated Rosetta, or Rashid as it is known in Arabic, which was founded in 800 AD by the Muslim governor Ibn Tulung with the most beautiful Ottoman style houses of the area and is today a lively port city. But Rosetta links its name above all to the stele of the same name, the Rosetta Stone, which is made of black granite and has inscriptions in not only Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, but also Ancient Greek, and was discovered during the Napoleonic campaigns in Egypt in 1799. The Frenchman Champollion, by comparing the languages, was able to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, which up until then had been unfathomable.
 
Our trip ends in Damietta and Port Said, the first of which is famous for being important during the Crusades, the second for being established when the Suez Canal was built in 1869 to allow ships to sail from Europe to Asia without circumnavigating Africa.
 
The city Porto Said 
Traditional dishes
Lamb with rice
Beans
Vegetable and rice

The local cuisine is flavoursome, colourful, spicy and very varied, and is also healthy being very low in fat. Typical dishes are based on lamb or mutton, together with vegetables and rice. Pulses worthy of trying are the celebrated broad beans, cooked in different ways. 
 
Where to sleep in Marsa Matruh
 
Marsa Matruh is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for place of interest.
 
STARS
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
STARS
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
 
NEARLY
Hotels in other locations
 
AIRPORT
Hotels near the airport
 
 

Text by Anna Glik
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock

Copyright © Sisterscom.com

All rights reserved.

Updated June 2019

Video: www.egypt.travel

 

 

Tourism Board

www.egypt.travel

WHERE TO GO

 

Museums
SIWA HOUSE MUSEUM

The Museum, located in a traditional Siwan house, boasts traditional Siwan objects such as silver jewellery, music instruments, wedding costumes, baskets and ceramics. The small Siwa House Museum was inspired by a Canadian diplomat is very interesting and was built to preserve and display artifacts depicting the various aspects of the Siwan life.

ROMMEL MUSEUM
The museum is located at 3 km east of Matrouh's town centre, at the northern tip of the harbour's bay. During World War II, the German general Rommel, popularly known as the "desert fox," chose an extensive cave in the cliffs overlooking the harbour as his headquarters in Marsa Matrouh.
The caves have now been transformed into a small museum honouring Rommel. His personal effects, donated by his son Manfred, make this place worth a visit. On display: the general's full length leather coat, his compass and his marked up maps.
 
Excursions
SIWA OASE

Siwa Oase is an edenic island full of mineral springs, salt lakes and endless Olive and Palm groves. In Shali, the oasis' main town, to visit are the strange ruins of the Shali Fortress which dominate the town center and do not miss are the sandy paths to find the Temple of the Oracle, once visited by Alexander the Great himself to consult the Oracle of Siwa. To rest when you have finish the cultural visit, it is possible to take a dip at Cleopatra's Pool, where the legendary queen herself is believed to have once swum.

CLEOPATRA'S BEACH

Cleopatra’s Beach is a wonderful bay located on the opposite side of the biggest lagoon in Marsa Matrouh; its clear waters surrounded by rocks give the impression of a vast, square pool in which, according to the legend, Cleopatra came to bathe - with her lover, Mark Anthony. Ruins of one of her palaces were uncovered on the hillside opposite the pool and it seems that a subterranean passage lead from the "villa" to the beach, perhaps allowing cosy midnight swims.

 

WESTERN DESERT

The Western Desert is 262, 000 square miles of dunes, canyons, oases, mountainous plateaus, and valleys that span most of land west of the Nile Valley. In the Desert you can travel through miles and miles of golden dunes and see uncanny rock formations and rest at precious oases. It is possible to take a safari into the Western Desert.

EL-ALAMEIN

Famed for the decisive victory of the Allies over the Axis forces in the World War II North Africa campaign, El-Alamein is located half-way between Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh on the Egyptian North Coast. Today, it is home to war memorials: the British Memorial, the German Memorial and the Italian Memorial, as well as cemeteries, and landmarks reminiscent of this important part of the town’s history. In Graeco-Roman times, El-Alamein was known as “Locassis”, which means the white shell; it has been so named because of its beautiful white sandy beaches.

 

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