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A ship's bow view of tranversing the Suez Canal

Transit the Suez Canal

Bordered by Port Said in the north at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea and Port Suez in the south at the mouth of the Red Sea, the Suez Canal flows 193 kilometers (120 miles) through the Isthmus of Suez, across saline lakes known as the Bitter Lakes. Built under the guidance of French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, the canal took 10 years to construct, opening in 1869. It's noteworthy for its narrow width—which means that large ships need to travel single file and wait for each other to pass—and the fact that it has no locks, so water flows through from one sea to the other. When the Suez Canal opened, it eliminated the need for ships to sail around Africa to reach South Asia: It reduced the journey by 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles).