Taba is a paradise full of deluxe holiday resorts that overlook the legendary beauty of the Red Sea. It is located along Egypt’s famed “Riviera,” the Gulf of Aqaba.
There is not much to do outside the resort hotels, just a few shops, restaurants, and a championship golf course with a free shuttle bus that runs between the hotel. However, slowly and surely more shops and restaurants are opening up each year.
Taba is the perfect place to relax. If you enjoy lazing by the pool or on the beach with your family and friends, and having a quiet drink in the evening, Taba is the ideal place for you. If you have visited Egypt before, but were put off by the constant hassle of vendors and beggars, Taba will seem like a breath of fresh air.
The small town of Taba is located at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba between the mountains and plateau of eastern Taba on one side and the water of the Gulf of Aqaba on the other side. Taba is located 240 kilometers to the North of the famous resort of Sharm El Sheikh and the town has a very strategic position near the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, whose border is located on the edge of the City of Taba.
History of Taba
The city of Taba has a rich modern history beginning in 1892 when Khedive Tawfiq died and the Ottoman rulers in Istanbul assigned Abbas Helmy ll to rule Egypt. Sultan Abdel Al Hamid ll wanted to lessen the British presence in Egypt so he gave orders, or a Farman, to prevent Egypt from having shores on the Gulf of Al Aqaba. This issue was called the “Farman” and was solved when Top Kapi Palace gave 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 where modern Taba is now located, however, the Ottomans had to go back on this decision. Afterward, the British authorities decided to draw exact borders of Egypt and of course, it included Taba and its shores. In 1922, after England declared Egypt an independent state in the declaration of February 28, the borders of Egypt that included Taba took on their international legality.
After the Tripartite Aggression, England, France, and Israel left Egypt in 1956, and a peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel under the supervision of the United Nations. This treaty noted that the Israeli borders end at the city of Taba. When the war of 1967 occurred 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 only able to take back certain parts of the Sinai that didn’t include Taba.
In 1979 former Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat signed the Camp David treaty that required Israel to get out of Sinai including 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 become a growing tourist attraction because of its nature that contains two small inner gulfs, a number of lakes, and an island. The Egyptian government and foreign and local businessmen have built a lot of resorts in the area to take advantage of how popular it has become to visit.
Egyptian government investment in Taba exceeded 900 million Egyptian pounds in infrastructure projects that included establishing roads and building houses. It also included a full sanitation line and a telephone landline. 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 allows tourists to come to Taba and the nearby cities easily and quickly. One of the main features of Taba is the Hilton Taba resort with all its facilities and amenities. It was built by the Israelis during their occupation and then sold to the Egyptians after they took control of the city in 1989.
In 1988, Taba and the area around it were included in the protected area of Sinai to safeguard their amazing and beautiful nature. This area also includes the colored valley that was the result of an ancient river that passed through it. One of the valleys around the colored valley has historical inscriptions that go back to the Nabatean times and the Roman times as well.
This small museum contains three halls that display around 700 antiquities that tell the story of the people of South Sinai from the Pharaonic era until today. The museum opens from 9 in the morning until 4 at noon.
The Castle of Saladin
This amazing castle is located 10 kilometers away from the city of Al Aqaba and only 250 meters away from the Egyptian borders. It had a significant strategic and historical importance as it is located near the borders of four countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and Israel / Palestine. Furthermore, the castle was built by Saladin Al Ayoby in 1171 AD to protect Egypt against the attacks of 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 was also an oven to manufacture weapons, a bread baking oven, a conference hall for the rulers to plan how to defend Egypt against attacks, housing for soldiers, 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 Pharos Island where the citadel is located.
Saladin was smart in choosing the location of his citadel on a top of two high hills with a narrow valley between them as this made it very difficult to attack, especially with two defense lines: the outer wall that the surrounds the castle and the inner walls of the citadel itself.