The Town Of Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam sits on the T-junction between the ancient road from Edfu town and the Red Sea coast, which was built through the Eastern Desert by Ptolemy II in the Greek period. This historic route runs past sites where ancient Egyptians mined much of their gold, and it is also known for its fascinating rock inscriptions which date back to the pre-dynastic period. The graffiti depicts ostrich hunting scenes and also shows animals such as giraffes and cattle.
The town of Marsa Alam was traditionally just a small, sleepy fishing village, but since the opening of the Marsa Alam International Airport and a surge of tourist development in recent years, this relaxed resort is now one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in Egypt and is destined to become as popular as the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. One of the main reasons for Marsa Alam’s popularity is the fact that it is the gateway to some of the most spectacular dive sites in the southern Red Sea, attracting diving and snorkeling enthusiasts from all over the world.
In spite of being an interesting place to visit it is mostly the most underrated destination in Marsa Alam. This is where most of the hotel workers who come from all parts of Egypt live as well as local Bedouin, men working in the nearby gold mines and traders who have set up to provide local services. It’s very close to most of the hotels in the region, it has a number of shops selling both essentials and souvenirs, a reasonably priced market and a handful of fairly basic but clean restaurants and cafes. Locals usually very happy to see tourists and genuinely friendly.
On the other hand, it is modern town with little intrinsic architectural charm or beauty – at midday sometimes has the appearance of a ghost town although it comes to life in the evenings when it’s cooler and the working population returns.