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Al Quseir


Al-Quseir has a long history as one of the major ports of the Red Sea: from here Queen Hatshepsut launched her expedition to the Land of Punt, as depicted in the reliefs in Deit el-Bahari temple at Luxor. Legend has it that the expedition returned with two live panthers and 31 incense trees. The 16th-century fortress of Sultan Selim, still standing in the center of town, shows al-Quseir's former strategic importance. Today, it is a quiet resort with sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. An ancient caravan trail, to Qift in the Nile Valley, leads from al-Quseir through the mountains, passing several pharaonic and Roman sites. A new road, directly to Luxor, opens soon.

The ancient city of Berenice, named by Ptolemy II, became a trading port in 275 BC. A ruined Temple of Semiramis is near the modern town and , inland, there are the remains of the emerald mines of Wadi Sakait, which were worked from pharaonic to Roman times. The coast is lined with mangrove swamps and unspoiled bays and coves. Offshore, visit the tectonic island of Zabargad, a geological phenomenon which is also famous as the source of the semi-precious gem olivine, mined here from 1500 BC until the mid-20th century. From Peridot Hill there are breathtaking views of the surrounding blue lagoons, rich in marine life and home to many dolphins.



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