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Egytian Ismailia -- Ismailiah

Updated August 10th 2019

Page 434 in Egypt : Handbook for Travellers : Part First -- Lower Egypt with the Fayum
and the Peninsula of Sinai --- Edited by Karl Baedeker (Publisher) 1885


A Handbook for Travellers in Egypt: including descriptions of the course of the Nile through Egypt and Nubia, Alexandria, Cairo, the pyramids and Thebes, the Suez Canal, the Peninsula of Mount Sinai, the Oases, the Fayum &c --- Fourth Edition -- John Murray Publisher (1873)


Page v   The Suez Canal from being a "chimerical" project has become an accomplished fact ; and the towns of Port Said, Ismailia and it may almost be said Suez have sprung into existence with it.

Page 220   Ismailia ; fair food and accommodation. The house is very well situated at a short distance from the railway station and commanding a fine view over Lake Timsah. As Ismailia owes its raison d'etre entirely to the Suez Canal its description will be more appropriately reserved for the account of that work. The following extracts from two letters describing journeys to Ismailia in 1863 and 1869 respectively may be inserted here as interesting to the traveller of the present day.

Page 223   among which may be mentioned the vine most successfully cultivated by M. Pierre the director. The industrial part of the town, through which I returned to the hotel, has a very animated appearance. The shops are neat and well-stocked. The population contains specimens of many different countries but they all seem to live on good terms with one another. Leaving the street which traverses this quarter my guide took me along one that crossed it diagonally and brought me into the middle of a charmingly laid out square gay with baskets of flowers and alleys of trees yet young but growing vigorously. In the middle is a large fountain covered and surrounded by a kiosk whose slight and graceful columns were covered with creepers .... I had only just time to go to the landing stage at Lake Timsah. The first thing that struck me there was a sea-bathing establishment with cabins, a restaurant and a sort of wooden stage 200 yards from the shore. A splendid sandy bottom and water clear as crystal and quite free from sharks might well induce persons to come to Ismailia for sea-bathing. No place in Egypt can compare with it for this purpose ; and I should not be astonished if the rich Cairenes and Alexandrians turned Ismailia eventually into a gay watering-place" Histoire de l'Isthme de Suez by O. Ritt.

E. side of the lake, called by the French "les Carrieres des Hyenes," Hyena Quarries, from some of these animals having been found in the neighbourhood.

The marshes round the W. side of the lake abound in water-fowl of various kinds, and gazelles are very frequently met with in the neighbouring desert. Any traveller who is fortunate enough to have an introduction to one of the chief employes of the Company at Ismailia will readily obtain any information as to sport, and, should he stay long enough, very probably have an opportunity given him of joining in a gazelle hunt. The sanitary advantages of Ismailia as a residence are thought very highly of by medical men resident in Egypt. The climate is extremely dry and temperate ; there being always a fresh breeze from the lake to moderate the noonday heat, and the nights, even in summer, are fresh and cool. The humidity is very slight, and there is hardly any dust. An additional recommendation may be found in the possibility of enjoying sea-bathing in the lake all the year round. The town is well supplied with articles of food by the Railway and the Canal, and the fish, which abound in Lake Timsah, are finer and better flavoured than those caught in the Mediterranean.

The traveller may continue his voyage from Ismailia to Port Said either in some large steamer on her way through the Canal, or in the small steam launch which runs daily. Information as to the hours of departure, &c, had better be obtained at the transit office of the Company.

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