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Halfway between Bur Sa‘id and Suez, this quaint city on Lake Timsah was founded by and named after Khedive Isma‘il for those working on the canal. The director of the Suez Canal Company, Ferdinand de Lesseps, lived here until the completion of the canal, and his home still stands—off-limits, alas—to the public. Ismailiya's population is close to 700,000, and the city is known for its wide streets, expansive public gardens, and cleanliness.
There is a distinct colonial feel in the area known as Hay al-Afrangi (the foreign district), because of the French colonial architecture of the remaining buildings. A stroll down Shar‘a Muhammad ‘Ali leads you along the Sweetwater Canal and eventually to the house of Ferdinand de Lesseps.
Perpendicular to Shar‘a Muhammad ‘Ali, running away from the Sweetwater Canal, Shar‘a Sultan Hussayn has a number of restaurants, stores, banks, and a Thomas Cook office. From here, if you turn left (southwest) onto Shar‘a Saad Zaghloul and walk to Maydan al-Gummhurriya, you'll get a feel for the wide streets and calm pace.
Ismailiya at a Glance
Elsewhere in The Sinai Peninsula and Red Sea Coast
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