The Suez Canal is a large artificial waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez, and then to the Red Sea. The canal allows two-way water transportation, most importantly between Europe and Asia without circumnavigation of Africa. The Canal is extensively used by modern ships, as it is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.
Before its opening in 1869, goods were sometimes offloaded ships and carried over land between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The canal cuts through 3 lakes, the Lake Manzala, in north which is protected from the canal with a bedding on its western side, the Lake Timsah in the middle and the Bitter Lakes further South. The Bitter Lakes make up almost 30km of the total length.
The idea of a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea dates back to ancient times. Unlike the modern canal, earlier ones linked the Red Sea to the Nile, therefore boring the ships to sail along the river on their journey from Europe to India.
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