Suez Canal
Egypt, Suez Canal

The opening of the Suez Canal took place in November 1869 with great solemnity. But the idea of connecting the Mediterranean Sea with Red was not new. Already in the VI century BC, the Egyptian king Necho cherished a similar plan. As a result, he abandoned the intention to pave this waterway, but when trying to implement it, 120,000 slaves were killed. About 500 BC, after the conquest of Egypt by the Persians, King Darius resumed the project and attested in the inscription on the stove that he completed the canal. The Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC reported that this channel did not connect the two seas in a straight line, and it took four days for the ship to pass through it. It was wide enough so that two boats with three oars on each could sail side by side. Probably, the Darius canal passed east of the Vila and, like today's waterway, crossed the lake. Under the Romans, the canal was improved, but then again became shallow. Subsequent generations did not rise to the deeds of their ancestors. Plans from the time of the Venetian state, Louis XIV and Napoleon have never been realized. Napoleon's engineers laid numerous locks in the project, because, according to their calculations, the difference in water level between the Mediterranean and the Red Seas was 10 meters. But even after it turned out that this was not true, it took a lot of time to complete the construction. Ferdinand de Lesseps, from 1831 to 1938, the French consul in Cairo, after many unsuccessful efforts, in 1854 obtained the consent of Vice President Mohammed Saeed-pa-shi (Egypt at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire) and received the right to begin construction work. The canal was supposed to begin north of Suez and then in a straight line, crossing Lake Timsah and Gorky Lakes, move to the Mediterranean Sea. De Lesseps not only enlisted the support of the vice president, but also attracted a number of French shareholders who invested in the Suez Canal company. Only the British, who just won the most from the fastest way to India, did not buy a single share. Although the canal reduced the distance between London and Bombay by 7343 kilometers, the British government did everything to prevent this project. It condemned him as physically impracticable, too expensive and unprofitable. From the day of the festivities regarding the start of construction and up to the opening ceremony held ten years later, de Lesseps led the work. It was necessary to overcome many difficulties. Initially, convicts worked for him. Later, the process was mechanized, and working conditions were improved so much that they became attractive to the European workforce. To provide drinking water to 25,000 workers, a special fresh water supply was built. In the Mediterranean Sea, where the canal ended, Port Said literally arose from nothing. From there it was necessary to go to work sites in the south, until the water supply system, stretched by 1863, finally allowed camps to be set up along the entire route. The length of the finished channel was 161 kilometers, the depth was 8 meters, and the width along the water mirror was 22 meters. Every ten kilometers, a spare bay was dug. Today, the canal is 200 meters wide, and there is not a single place where the depth would be less than 15 meters.