9 Fascinating Facts About the Suez Canal

The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes. The canal extends 193 km (120 miles) between Port Said (Būr Saʿīd) in the north and Suez in the south, with dredged approach channels north of Port Said, into the Mediterranean, and south of Suez. The canal does not take the shortest route across the isthmus, which is only 121 km (75 miles). Instead, it utilizes several lakes: from north to south, Lake Manzala (Buḥayrat al-Manzilah), Lake Timsah (Buḥayrat al-Timsāḥ), and the Bitter Lakes—Great Bitter Lake (Al-Buḥayrah al-Murrah al-Kubrā) and Little Bitter Lake (Al-Buḥayrah al-Murrah al-Ṣughrā).
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