There are many interesting and historical sites to see in the area of Rafah, Egypt. The history of the city goes back to the Pharaonic period. The city of Rafah itself is in a turbulent moment in time right now. Much of the city has been and is being destroyed to create a larger buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt. This is to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities that have been smuggled in tunnels from Gaza to Rafah. Many civilians in the Rafah area are being forced to relocate due to the creation of the buffer zone. Many are left searching for a new place to live without much if any warning. Much of the cause of the buffer creation is also because of Jihadist and extremist activity in the area which had increased since mid 2013. The question is if this kind of extreme measure will help the issue or actually make it worse. It is a shame that it is such a turbulent time for the residents of the area and for all those who would like to see the treasures nearby. There are many interesting places to see in the Rafah area if things settle down and peace comes to the region. Gaza city which is just North of the Egyptian Border is considered one of the ancient cities around the world. Gaza City is located on the Mediterranean and was a regular stop on the Coastal route throughout the ages. I will discuss here some worthwhile places to go to in Rafah and the surrounding areas once there is a time of safe passage for tourists.
- Napoleon’s Fort
This Fort was named after Napoleon because he stayed there for three nights during the Siege of Acre in 1799. The building was originally built as a mansion and it had many fortifications and a large height making it easier to see anyone coming and protect yourself in it. The second floor was built as a fortress home for the ruling Radwan dynasty at the time. There were underground tunnels to help defend it. For these reasons, Napoleon had probably chosen to stay in this building.
- The Al-Daraj Quarter
This Area of the old City of Gaza has many beautiful features including a fountain that was renovated by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid in 1893. The fountains over a large underground reservoir where water used to flow through it. It was made with a bronze Dome. On all four sides of the fountain are inscriptions containing Qur’anic verses. It also has one of the biggest most beautiful Mosques in Gaza – Sayyed Hashem Mosque. It is created in Ottoman and Mamluk style architecture. It is one of the oldest Mosques in Gaza. This existing Mosque was built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Majid in 1850. The original Minaret was rebuilt in 1903.
- Rafah Beaches
Rafah is a beach town and has beautiful beaches along with archeological sites in the area.
- Dear Al – Balah
This area has beautiful beaches. It recently uncovered an archeological find – a cemetery dating back to the Bronze Age. Also discovered were tombs, pottery, bronze pots and a mosaic floor. The city is known for its date palms, which is where its name comes from. It served as a fortified outpost in the late Bronze Age for the New kIngdom of Egypt. In the 4th century AD a monastery was built in Deir al-Balah by the Christian Monk Hilarion.
As you can see there is a lot of history in the Rafah and Gaza area that will be worth seeing when the time is right.