Taba is a small Egyptian town near the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.Taba is located 240 kilometers to the North of the famous resort of Sharm El Sheikh. The town has a very strategic position near the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israeli which borders are located on the edge of the City of Taba. Little more than a bus depot and a luxury hotel (complete with casino), Taba is a frequent vacation spot for Egyptians and tourists, especially those from Israel on their way to other destinations in Egypt or as a weekend getaway. It is the northernmost resort of Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera.
Located just southwest of Taba is a protected area on 3590 km².
This protected area includes geological formations such as caves, a string of valleys, and mountainous passages. There are also some natural springs in the area.
The area has 25 kinds of mammals, 50 kinds of rare birds, and 24 kinds of reptiles.
The city of Taba has a rich modern history and the city’s history started in 1892 when Khedive Tawfiq died and the Ottoman rulers in Istanbul had to assign Abbas Helmy ll to rule Egypt. The Sultan Abdel Al Hamid ll wanted to lessen the British presence in Egypt so he gave orders, or a Faraman, to prevent Egypt from having shores on the Gulf of Al Aqaba. This issue was called the “Farman”. This issue was over when Topkapı Palace gave its orders to give Egypt exact Eastern borders with Rafah at the North and Taba at the South.
The Ottoman rulers wanted to put a number of soldiers and two canons in the location of the modern city of Taba nowadays. However, the Ottomans had to go back on this. Afterwards, the British authorities decided to draw exact borders of Egypt and off course it included Taba and its shores.
In 1922 after England declared Egypt as an independent state in the declaration of the 28th of February, the borders of Egypt that included Taba took its international legality.
After the Tripartite Aggression, England, France, and Israel, was out of Egypt in 1956, a peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel with the supervision of the United Nations. This treaty noted that the Israeli borders end at the city of Taba which was included in the Egyptian borders.
When the war of 1967 broke down and the Israelis took control of Sinai they took control of Taba as well. When the Egyptians took back the control over Sinai, they were able only to take certain parts of the Sinai that didn’t include Taba.
In 1979, the former Egyptian president, Anwar Al Sadat, singed the Camp David treaty that asked Israel to get out of Taba. In 1982, Egypt took control over all Sinai, except Taba which was the last city that Egypt took from Israel in 1989 after a lot of political negotiations that the Egyptian president, Hosny Mubarak, had with Israeli authorities and the United Nations as well.
Nowadays, Taba has growing touristic attention because of its nature that contains two small inner gulfs, a number of lakes, and an island. This enabled the Egyptian government and foreign and local businessmen to build a lot of resorts there.
The investment of the Egyptian government in Taba exceeded 900 million Egyptian pounds in infrastructure projects that included establishing roads building houses. It also included a full sanitation line and a telephone landline. The foreign investment in Taba exceeded 3 billion pounds with a lot of resorts, diving centers, and hotels. The Egyptian government also built the Naqb Airport near Taba that gave the chance to tourists to come to Taba and the nearby cities easily.
In 1988, Taba and the area around it were included in the protected area of Sinai to safeguard this amazing beautiful spot in Egypt. This area also includes the colored valley that was the result of an ancient river that passed through it in ancient times. One of the valleys around the colored valley has historical inscriptions that go back to the Nabatean times and the Roman times as well.
Places to Visit:
The Taba Museum:
This small museum contains three halls that display around 700 pieces of antiquities that demonstrates the story of the people South Sinai from the Pheronic era until today. The museum opens from 9 in the morning till 4 at noon.
The Castle of Saladin:
It is located 10 kilometers away from the city of Al Aqaba, 250 meters away from the Egyptian borders. This castle has a significant strategic and historical importance as it is located near the borders of four countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and Israel, or Palestine. Furthermore, the castle was built by Saladin Al Ayoby in 1171 AD to protect Egypt against the attacks of the crusaders coming from Europe.
The citadel contained a lot of defense means like a huge wall that surrounds all over and a number of monitoring towers. There is also an oven to manufacture weapons, a conference hall for the rulers to plan how to defend Egypt against any attacks, housing for soldiers, an oven to bake bread, storage rooms, water reservoir, and a mosque that was built by Amir Hossam El Dine Bagel. The citadel was built with granite rocks that were taken from the Pharos Island where the citadel was built.
Saladin was successful in choosing the location of his citadel on a top of two high hills with a narrow valley between them which made very difficult to attack it, especially with two defense lines: the outer wall that the surround the castle and an the inner walls of the citadel itself.