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The Gulf of Aqaba
Aqaba
(Arabic: خليج العقبة‎, Khalij al-Aqabah) or Gulf of Eilat
Eilat
(Hebrew: מפרץ אילת‎, Mifrats Eilat) is a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. Its coastline is divided between four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Cities 1.2 Extent

2 Geology 3 Ecology 4 History 5 Tourism 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Geography[edit]

The Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
separating the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
to the west and the Gulf of Aqaba, to the east.

The gulf is east of the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
and west of the Arabian Peninsula. With the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
to the west, it extends from the northern portion of the Red Sea. It reaches a maximum depth of 1,850 m in its central area: the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
is significantly wider but less than 100 m deep. The gulf measures 24 kilometres (15 mi) at its widest point and stretches some 160 kilometres (99 mi) north from the Straits of Tiran to where Israel
Israel
meets Egypt
Egypt
and Jordan.

The city of Aqaba
Aqaba
is the largest on the gulf

Coral World Underwater Observatory
Coral World Underwater Observatory
at Eilat

Like the coastal waters of the Red Sea, the gulf is one of the world's premier sites for diving. The area is especially rich in coral and other marine biodiversity and has accidental shipwrecks and vessels deliberately sunk in an effort to provide a habitat for marine organisms and bolster the local dive tourism industry. Cities[edit]

Taba beach

At this northern end of the gulf are three important cities: Taba in Egypt, Eilat
Eilat
in Israel, and Aqaba
Aqaba
in Jordan. They are strategically important commercial ports and popular resorts for tourists seeking to enjoy the warm climate. Further south, Haql
Haql
is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the gulf. On Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
and Dahab
Dahab
are the major centers. The largest population center is Aqaba, with a population of 108,000 (2009), followed by Eilat
Eilat
with a population of 48,000 (2009). Extent[edit] The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the southern limit of the gulf as "A line running from Ràs al Fasma Southwesterly to Requin Island (27°57′N 34°36′E / 27.950°N 34.600°E / 27.950; 34.600) through Tiran Island
Tiran Island
to the Southwest point thereof and thence Westward on a parallel (27°54'N) to the coast of the Sinaï Peninsula".[1] Geology[edit] The gulf is one of two gulfs created by the Sinai Peninsula's bifurcation of the northern Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
lying to the west of the peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba
Aqaba
to its east. Geologically, the gulf forms the southern end of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
Transform. It contains three small pull-apart basins, the Elat
Elat
Deep, Aragonese Deep and Dakar Deep, formed between four left lateral strike-slip fault segments. Movement on one of these faults caused the 1995 Gulf of Aqaba earthquake.[2] Ecology[edit] Further information: Red_Sea § Ecosystem Further information: Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
§ Wildlife History[edit]

"Isle of Graia Gulf of Akabah Arabia Petraea", 1839 lithograph of a trade caravan by Louis Haghe
Louis Haghe
from an original by David Roberts.

A resort on the Gulf of Eilat, near Eilat's Coral
Coral
Beach

Trade across the Red Sea
Red Sea
between Thebes port of Elim and Elat
Elat
at the head of the gulf is documented as early as the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt. Expeditions crossing the Red Sea
Red Sea
and heading south to Punt are mentioned in the fifth, the sixth, the eleventh, the twelfth and the eighteenth dynasties of Egypt, when Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
built a fleet to support the trade and journeyed south to Punt in a six-month voyage.[citation needed] Thebes used Nubian gold or Nub from her conquests south into Kush to facilitate the purchase of frankincense, myrrh, bitumen, natron, juniper oil, linen, and copper amulets for the mummification industry at Karnak. Egyptian settlements near Timna
Timna
at the head of the gulf date to the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. At the northern edge, the ancient city of Ayla (in present-day Aqaba) was a commercial hub for the Nabateans. The Romans built the Via Traiana Nova, which joined the King's Highway at Aqaba
Aqaba
and connected Africa
Africa
to Asia and the Levant and Red Sea
Red Sea
shipping. Aqaba
Aqaba
was a major Ottoman port, connected to Damascus
Damascus
and Medina
Medina
by the Hejaz railway. During World War I, the Battle of Aqaba
Aqaba
was the key battle that ended a 500-year Ottoman rule over Greater Syria. The Marine Twilight Zone Research and Exploration program (MTRX) was set up in 2003 by the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat
Eilat
to conduct research on the deep coral reef systems of the northern Red Sea.[3] Tourism[edit]

Red Sea
Red Sea
coral and marine fish

The gulf is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. About 250,000 dives are performed annually in Eilat's 11 km coastline, and diving represents 10% of the tourism income of this area.[4] The Landscape of Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
to the east of the northern edge of the gulf is a popular destination. Other destinations are the ruins of the iron-age civilization of Ayla in the city of Aqaba, the site of the World War I Battle of Aqaba, led by Lawrence of Arabia. Whales, orcas, dolphins, dugongs, and whale sharks live in the gulf as well.[5][6] See also[edit]

Al Jawf Region/Tabuk Region Aqaba
Aqaba
Governorate Israeli Diving Federation South Sinai Governorate Tourism in Israel Tourism in Egypt Tourism in Jordan

References[edit]

^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ Klinger, Yann; Rivera, Luis; Haessler, Henri; Maurin, Jean-Christophe (August 1999). "Active Faulting in the Gulf of Aqaba: New Knowledge from the Mw 7.3 Earthquake of 22 November 1995" (PDF). Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Seismological Society of America. 89 (4): 1025–1036. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 January 2014  ^ Ben-Shaprut, O; Goodman-Tchernov, B (2009). "Exploring the 'Marine Twilight Zone' in the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea, Israel". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-16.  ^ Artificial Reefs and Dive Tourism in Eilat, Israel. Dan Wilhelmsson, Marcus C. Öhman, Henrik Ståhl and Yechiam Shlesinger. Ambio, Vol. 27, No. 8, Building Capacity for Coastal Management (Dec., 1998), pp. 764-766 Published by: Allen Press on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2006-08-13. . the United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved on December 17. 2014 ^ Sciara di N.G., Smeenk C., Rudolph P., Addink M., Baldwin R., Cesario A., Costa M., Feingold D., Fumagalli M., Kerem D., Goffman O., Elasar M., Scheinin A., Hadar N.. 2014. Summary review of cetaceans of the Red Sea. ^ "Dugongs in the Red Sea
Red Sea
and Gulf of Aden". unep.ch. Archived from the original on 2016-01-28. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gulf of Aqaba.

The Red Sea
Red Sea
Marine Peace Park page on Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - a joint Israel- Jordan
Jordan
initiative

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