In an area that boasts a 5,000-year-old history, the El Quseir Fort may seem relatively modern. But this 16th-century construction was one of Egypt's most critical centers of defense on the Red Sea coast until the 18th century, protecting the country from the enemies.
The El Quseir Fort was built by Sultan Selim in 1517 to defend against the forced entry of the Portuguese, who wanted to take advantage of the area's lucrative trading arrangements with India and China. In late 1799, the fort was seized by French troops who augmented the fortifications further by widening the rampart, building a viewing platform, and adding cannons. They French soldiers continued to occupy the fort and defended against two attempted invasions by British troops. In 1801, the French abandoned the fort after conceding defeat to the British army comprising British and Indian soldiers. Later in the century, the fort was again used by Muhammad Ali Pasha in war against Arabia. Once the Suez Canal was constructed in the 19th century, El Quseir fort was no longer needed strategically. However, it was the base for the Egyptian coast guard until 1975.
What to see
Today, after significant restorations, the fortress serves as a major tourist attraction of the seaside town. The entrance to the fort is on the main street side through a narrow tunnel. On the ramparts of the fort, you will find two cannons installed by the French. The protruding muzzles of the cannon are impressive and a perfect backdrop for a photo. The fort is a must-visit if you are in the area—admire the exhibition showcasing the Bedouin culture, check out other displays relating to trading and shipbuilding history of the area, see the phosphate carts parked here, and climb the watchtower to take in view of the historic town.