17 ноября 1869 года открылось движение по Суэцкому каналу

The idea of connecting two seas separated by the nature with each other would come up from ever and again since the ancient times. The narrow neck of land between the Red Sea and Mediterranean 163 km long looked the most tempting. One cannot say that the previous generations firmly resisted the temptation. The first attempt was taken by pharaoh Senusret III almost forty centuries ago. He passed the torch to other rulers, and the idea was raised from time to time until the rule of Napoleon. However, all the projects failed. The time for the channel came fifty years after Napoleon’s rule. The town of Port Said was built on the Mediterranean coast to serve as a starting point for the channel to Suez on the coast of the Red Sea. The project was being implemented almost 11 years. Concurrently, the builders discovered excavator and set three records marked later in the Guinness Book. First, 1.5 million workers were involved in the project, more than anywhere else. Second, the project was leading in the number of accidents – the casualties included 120,000 people. Finally, Suez Canal is the longest artificial navigable passage today. On November 17, 1869, the yacht of French Empress Eugenie entered the virgin waters of Suez Canal. The new artery connected the Mediterranean with the Red Sea at last doing away with multi-day route around the African continent. Besides, the longest channel in the world put an end to era of sailing ships, as they would be stuck there without wind. As for opera Aida, it was not staged within the framework of the opening ceremony, contrary to a popular myth, as Verdi had not finished it yet by the moment. So the public had to content themselves with Rigoletto.

Today, Suez canal is different to the one that was opened for traffic in the middle of 19th century. It has been widened and deepened ever since. Such operations are being carried out now as well. The game is worth the candles, as the way along the channel is quicker and cheaper if compared to the one round the African coast. The only thing that looks disappointing is about sharks. They found the way to Mediterranean through Suez Canal.