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Suez (sōĕzˈ) [key], city (1996 pop. 417,610), NE Egypt, at the northern end of the Gulf of Suez and at the southern terminus of the Suez Canal. An important port with extensive facilities, it is also a refueling station, a holding area for ships entering the canal, and a center for the storage and refining of oil. Petroleum products, paper, and fertilizers are major manufactures. Suez is linked by rail with Ismailia and Cairo; oil is conveyed by pipelines to Cairo and Alexandria. The city is also a departure point for pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

Although the site of the city was occupied in antiquity, Suez was little more than a small village throughout most of its history. In the 16th cent. it became a naval and trading station under the Ottoman Turks. After the completion (1869) of the Suez Canal the city became a major port. Its economy suffered during the periods that the canal was closed following the Arab-Iraeli Wars. Suez became a tax-free industrial zone after the canal permanently reopened in 1975.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Egyptian Political Geography

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