Before the mid 1970’s all that existed in this area of the Red Sea coastline was a small fishing village called El Dahar, but then the idea of creating a tourist resort was thought up and soon American, Arab, and European investors got involved with a new city being born: Hurghada. El Dahar was soon engulfed by this new settlement, remaining to this day as the oldest part of the city, consisting of many of its original buildings that are grey in colour and not too appealing to tourists; though the city’s oldest hotel, the Magawish Hotel, is located in this area.
Hurghada now has a population of about 40,000 people and stretches along the Red Sea coastline for about 25 miles (40 kilometres), giving access to many of the abundant uninhabited offshore reefs and islands. Once established as a major centre for tourism, the city soon became a global centre for aquatic sports such as windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, and above all snorkelling and diving. The exceptional offshore underwater gardens are some of the finest to be found anywhere; a magnet for most of the world’s divers.
The City of Hurghada is separated into three main parts:
• El Dahar: as mentioned previously, is the oldest part of the city and is classed as the downtown area, housing the largest bazaar in the city, the post office, and the long distance bus station.
• Sekalla: a slightly more modern area where most of the modest hotels are situated.
• El Korra Road: the most modern part that houses Hurghada’s international airport; connecting the city with the rest of the world.
Throughout the city numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, public houses (pubs), and Internet cafes can be found. Adding to its reputation as a party city, countless clubs can also be found and almost every hotel has its own disco. “Alf Leila Wa Leila” ( One Thousand and One Nights) is a large open-air area which offers belly dancing, whirling dervishes, Arabic and Nubian folklore, and much more.