Egypt / Cities and Towns /
Other spellings: Al Arish; El Arish
City in northeastern Egypt with 140,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), on the Mediterranean coast, in Sinai, near the large seasonal river of Wadi al-Arish, 40 km from the borders to Israel and Palestine.
The town beach of Al-Arish, Egypt. Must be one of the longest town beaches in the world - it actually continues into the Gaza Strip.
Al-Arish is famous for its weird palm groves. There is no undergrowth, yet the palms thrives and seem to get plenty of water.
It is the capital of Northern Sinai governorate with 320,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 27,574 kmª.
Al-Arish's economy is based upon agriculture producing dates and castor beans, fishing and quail trapping. There is little activity in manufacture. In recent years tourism has been developed, although not yet attracting large foreign groups, largely because of conservative regulations to nightlife. Al-Arish also benefits as a transportation hub between Egypt, and Israel and Palestine.
Al-Arish is well-connected to other urban centres of Egypt with the raod linking it to the highway system at the Suez Canal, midway between Port Said and Ismailia. There are also good connections to the towns of the Gulf of Aqaba and Israel and Palestine. There is also an airfield here, though little used for passenger planes.
The name of Al-Arish is from a medieval misunderstanding, when Christian pilgrims wrongly concluded that it was the city of Sukkot, as mentioned in the Bible. Sukkot, translated to Arabic, is Arish. Its ancient name, Rhinocolorum, meant "Noses Cut Off", reflecting the destiny of prisoners exiled here.
The town was known as Rhinocolorum in ancient times, and it is mentioned a few times in classical works. It served as an outpost of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
7th century: Conquered by Muslim Arabs.
1560: New fortifications are constructed by the Ottomans.
1799 February 19: Conquered by French troops under the command of Napoleon.
1906: The Ottoman Empire and Egypt agrees on borders, placing Al-Arish in Egypt.
1956: Is briefly under Israel control.
1967: As a consequence of the Six-Day War, Al-Arish is occupied by Israel.
The Israelis destroy the railway from Al-Arish to the Suez Canal, allegedly for security reasons.
1979: Control of Al-Arish is returned to Egypt, following a peace agreement with Israel.
1995: Mass graves of up to 90 bodies of Egyptian POWs killed by Israeli troops in the Six-Day War, are discovered.