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The City of Beauty and Enchantment
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Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 30°35′N32°16′E / 30.583°N 32.267°E / 30.583; 32.267
Governorate Ismailia
  Total210 km2 (80 sq mi)
13 m (43 ft)
  Density1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Ismailiata
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
Area code(s) (+20) 69 or (+20) 64

Ismailia (Arabic : الإسماعيليةal-Ismāʻīlīyah, pronounced  [lesmæʕiˈlejjæ] ) is a city in north-eastern Egypt. Known in Egypt as "The City of Beauty and Enchantment", [1] Ismailia is situated on the west bank of the Suez Canal, it is the capital of the Ismailia Governorate. The city has a population of 366,669 as of 2012 (or approximately 750,000, including surrounding rural areas). It is located approximately halfway between Port Said to the north and Suez to the south. The Canal widens at that point to include Lake Timsah, one of the Bitter Lakes linked by the Canal.



Ismalailia, ca. 1870 COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Zoetwaterkanaal te Ismailia met Hollandse ophaalbrug. TMnr 60002282.jpg
Ismalaïlia, ca. 1870
Postcard of the Suez Canal Company ISMAILIA - Office of the Suez Canal Co.png
Postcard of the Suez Canal Company

Ismailia was founded in 1863, during the construction of the Suez Canal, by Khedive Ismail the Magnificent, after whom the city is named. Following the Battle of Kafr-el-Dawwar in 1882 the British established a base there.

The head office of the Suez Canal Authority is located in Ismailia at the shore of Lake Timsah. It has a large number of buildings dating from British and French involvement with the Canal. Most of these buildings are currently used by Canal employees and officials.

During World War I the British had an air base there and the Battle of Romani took place nearby. Ismailia War Cemetery was designed in 1919 by Sir Robert Lorimer marking the casualties of the battle. [2]

In 1973 the Battle of Ismailia took place in the city.

Government and politics

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928. An underground paramilitary wing was established in the 1940s, primarily to fight British occupation forces. In the early 1950s, Ismailia hosted the British Military HQ and the Civilian Administration Centre of the Canal Zone. British suppression of an uprising by rebellious Egyptian police there on 25 January 1952 was a key event leading to the overthrow of King Farouk I later that year and the Egyptian Revolution that followed. British forces pulled out of Ismailia in 1954.

Coptic Catholic Eparchy

On 1982.12.17 an Eparchy (Eastern Catholic Diocese) of Ismayliah was established on territory split off from the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria (Alexandrian Rite in Coptic language), which remains its Metropolitan. Its episcopal see is St. Mark's cathedral.

Suffragan Eparchs (Bishops of Ismayliah)



Ismailia has several public and private schools. They face the same educational problems that schools all around Egypt face.[ vague ] Private tutoring is widely accessible and is almost an unofficial requirement for all students. Two international schools, Manar Language School and Educational Language Complex School (E.L.C) offer American Diploma and IGCSE teaching systems.


Ismailia is the home of the Suez Canal University, established in 1976 with the help of the Chinese Government to serve the region of Suez Canal and Sinai. Suez Canal University now is one of the fastest growing educational institutions in Egypt with many students studying abroad.

Culture and recreation

Arts and festivals

Virgin Mary Church known as "Guardian of the Canal", is one of many examples of French architecture in Ismailia Virgin Mary Church.jpg
Virgin Mary Church known as "Guardian of the Canal", is one of many examples of French architecture in Ismailia

Ismailia hosts two important festivals each year. The first is the International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts that is held in June. [3] In June 2014 the 17th consecutive festival was organized. The second is the Ismailia International Folklore Arts Festival that is held in September. In this festival folkloric troupes from all around the globe meet in Ismailia, where they perform folkloric dances representing the culture of their countries. [4]

Archaeological Museum

A major attraction is the Ismailia Museum which was built in 1932. Visitors will find a variety of significant archaeological finds especially from sites in the Ismailia governorate such as Tell el-Maskhuta, from North Sinai, and from Upper Egypt.


Ismailia does get tourists from within Egypt, but is not a major tourism destination for international tourists. The city is approximately a ninety-minute automobile drive from Cairo. From Ismailia it is approximately a four-hour drive to Sharm el-Sheikh in South Sinai. Driving to the Taba Border Crossing at Taba and the Rafah Border Crossing at Rafah are both approximately four-hour drives. The city is also infamous for sidewalks painted in yellow and blue after the original kit colour of Ismaily Sports Club, the local sports team of the governorate


Ismailia owns the third most successful club in Egypt in the field of Football, Ismaily SC. The club's performance is considered a major political issue, and can tend to dictate the city's mood. The team enjoys brief stints of competition for local and international competition, but its financial situation prevents these stints from extending beyond a few years. The team has won the Egyptian League three times (1967, 1991, 2002), the Egyptian Cup twice (1997, 2000), and the African Champions League once (1969) as a first Egyptian Arab Club team won this league.


Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as hot desert (BWh).

The hottest recorded temperature was 47 °C (117 °F) on 14 June 1944 while the coldest recorded temperature was 0.2 °C (32.4 °F) on January.

Climate data for Ismailia
Record high °C (°F)30
Average high °C (°F)19.2
Daily mean °C (°F)14.8
Average low °C (°F)7.6
Record low °C (°F)0.2
Average precipitation mm (inches)7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)57544943424648515455586051.4
Source #1: NOAA, [5] Climate Charts [6]
Source #2: Voodoo Skies for record temperatures [7]
Ismailia's railway station Ismailia Railway Station.jpg
Ismailia's railway station

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. "Photo: The Lake,Ismailia,Egypt,The City of Beauty and Enchantment,Africa,c1935". oldphotobank.
  2. Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
  3. "Ismailia Film Festival 21th version (2019)edition to be from 10 April to 16 April 2019". Ismailia Film Festival. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  4. Egypt State Information Service . Retrieved 4 August 2014.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Dabaa Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  6. "Ismailia, Egypt: Climate, Global Warming, and Daylight Charts and Data". Climate Charts. Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  7. "Ismailia, Egypt". Voodoo Skies. Retrieved 5 July 2013.

Coordinates: 30°35′N32°16′E / 30.583°N 32.267°E / 30.583; 32.267