Scene on the Quay of Suez (Egypt) and its future significance.

David, Roberts, Quay, Suez, Egypt, Holy, Land, Palestine,
Quay at Suez February 11th 1839 / David Roberts


by David Roberts.

It may still be too early to predict the future importance of the comparatively quiet Quay of Suez; although the failure of the attempt to improve our intercourse with India by the navigation of the Euphrates has hitherto left the direct passage between Europe and Asia by the Red Sea without a rival.

A point which unites two quarters of the globe, and by which two oceans have their nearest connexion, would naturally, with the increasing activity of commerce, increase in value; notwithstanding the want of fresh water, of every kind of verdure, and the utter absence of cultivation. The date of Suez does not go farther back than the earlier period of the sixteenth century, when it became the place of transit for Eastern merchandise, and even fitted out naval armaments.

The discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope gradually reduced its value; and it existed only as a place for provisioning the caravans to Mecca; but now, the employment of steam navigation, and the British intercourse with the East, promise to remove the wretched establishments on the Quay of Suez. Yet, even this contingency depends on others.

The shallowness of the Gulf at this part is already felt as a serious obstruction; and a Railway directed to any more favorable point of the shore would consign the Town to immediate decay.

The project of a Ship Canal would be equally fatal; and although this has hitherto been only matter of theory, it would be difficult to limit the enterprise of a Government which in six mouths completed the Mahmoudia Canal forty miles long!

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Source: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, & Nubia, by David Roberts (British, 1796-1864), George Croly, William Brockedon. London: Lithographed, printed and published by Day & Son, lithographers to the Queen. Cate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1855.


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