Friday, January 9, 2009

The Voyage East IV – Through the Canal

I’m going to return to Port Said briefly after having mentioned it before. Port Said, like Alexandria stands at the entrance to the Suez Canal. The Canal opened in 1869 making travel From Europe to Asia much quicker and saved the long voyage round Cape Agulhas (the Cape of Good Hope). Port Said is the northern terminus of the 119 mile long canal. You spill out of the Canal into the Red Sea. Actually, rather like the Channel Tunnel between England and France, the Canal (in its modern form) was first suggested by Napoleon Bonaparte, after he conquered Egypt in the 1790s, proving once again that Boney had some good ideas as well as some really bad ones.

The picture left is a Messageries Maritime ship (their home port was Marseilles). The Messageries Maritime steamers sailed from France to the Far East where their Asian home port was Saigon. The picture, used on a postcard lists Issac Behar as the photographer. I’ll try and post more on the Messageries Maritime steamers to the Far East later.

Port Said was a popular stop and the town had grown up, in part, to accommodate the flow of traffic east and west through the Canal. The postcard of the Port Said Post Office (published by the Cairo Postcard Trust) is sweet as it’s probably where you both bought the card, filled it out and then posted it.

This second postcard is of the harbour and the architecture reveals a sort of modern Eygptian/Mediterranean/French influence in the architecture. The card was published by Lichtenstern and Harari of Cairo.

The Voyage East I - Gallions Reach: Where the Journey Began

The Voyage East II - Port Said

The Voyage East III - Alexandria

The Voyage East V - Suakim, Port Sudan

The Voyage East VI - Resupply at Aden

The Voyage East VII - Gibraltar

The Voyage East VIII - Suez- You Rather Hoped Not


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