There are many questions people have about the area of Rafah, Egypt and it border crossing. Today I will try to answer some of the questions.
- I have heard that Rafah, Egypt has a lot of history to it. What is the history and how far does it date back to?
Rafah does have a long history. It’s history dates back to the Egyptian Pharaohs about 3000 years ago. Rafah was an important place in those times strategically. It was part of the Egyptian empire and was located on the edge of it close to the Mediterranean Sea. It was used as a stretch stronghold in the ancient battles with Anatolia and Levant.
- I understand there is a lot of conflict in the Rafah area? Can you tell me a little bit about the recent history?
That is correct. There have been many incursions with varying militaries in the area. In particular there has been a lot of conflicts between the Israelis, the Egyptians and the people of Gaza. After much fighting there was a peace treaty developed between Egypt and Israel. In that agreement they agreed the crossing between Gaza and Egypt would have a buffer zone. This has caused many homes to be destroyed and people to be displaced. It is a difficult situation.
- I have heard that there is a log of archeology finds from the past civilizations that have inhabited Rafah and the surrounding area. Can you tell me about what there has been found in the area?
You are correct, there is a long history of various civilizations living in the Rafah area. It was used by the Egyptians 3000 years ago on it’s Horus Military Route which spanned 217 miles. The Horus Military Route had 11 Forts reportedly along it. Recently one was discovered in Rafah. There is also a Royal monument for the King Thutmose II at that location.
- I understand that there have been a lot of homes destroyed in the Rafah area. Can you tell me the history of this and why this has happened?
As I had mentioned there is a long history of war and destruction in the Rafah area. Due to its border location it has been used as a strategic point for different reasons. In recent history it has been used as a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza. Due to security concerns the governments of Israel and Egypt at different points have destroyed homes to create a “no man’s land” buffer zone to help them monitor and control terrorist and illegal activities. It’s a difficult situation that has made life very difficult for those living there.
- I have heard the border has been closed sometimes at the Rafah Border crossing. Can you tell me why?
That is correct, the border crossing recently has been closed more than it is open. Security concerns primarily lead to the closings and openings. Only those who have special permission can leave or enter.
- I am interested in visiting the Rafah area, what would be good to see?
There are many things to see there but one place with a lot of history is The Church of St. Porphyrius
- Is it safe to travel to Rafah now?
Unfortunately right now it is not safe to travel there and most people are not allowed unless you are with an Aid organization.
- I am going to go to the Rafah area and will be staying in Gaza, where can I stay?
The Al Deira Hotel is a nice hotel in a safe area.
Comment below with any suggestions or questions.