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Latest Archeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Discovery of an Achaemenid-Persian Castles East to Suez Canal


07 June 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- An Egyptian archaeological team has discovered two castles, the first at Tel Habwa on the ancient road of Horus War Road, which dates back to the Pharaohs era, Dynasties 18 and 19. 

The second castle dated back to the Achaemenid-Persian era. Zahi Hawwas Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said the new discoveries are located 30 km east to the Suez Canal.


Egypt under the Achaemenids

In 525 BC the Persian emperor Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great invaded Egypt and successfully overthrew pharaoh Psamtek III, last ruler of Egypt's 26th Dynasty to become the first ruler of Egypt's 27th Persian Dynasty.


Egypt therefore became a province of the first Persian Empire under the control of an Iranian governor (or satrap). Darius the Great commissioned the codification of old Egyptian laws and under his leadership, starting in about 515 BC, a canal is constructed between the Nile and the Red Sea.


During the 5th and 4th centuries there are frequent uprisings. Sometimes these result in periods of virtual independence, but in 343 BC a new Persian invasion brings Egypt back under tight control. The province remained Persian until 332 BCE.


Suez Canal

It has been suggested that the first Canal was dug during the reign of Tuthmosis III, although more solid evidence credits the Pharaoh Necho (6th century BCE) for the attempt. The canal however, was completed by Darius the Great for purpose of creation of a shipping connection between the Nile and the Red Sea, between the African colony and the mainland empire and the Persian Gulf. 


According to Herodotus, the completed canal was wide enough that two triremes could pass each other with oars extended, and required four days to traverse. Darius commemorated his achievement with a number of granite stelae that he set up on the Nile bank. The best preserved of these monuments was a stele of pink granite, which was discovered by Charles de Lesseps, Ferdinand de Lesseps's son, in 1866, 130 kilometers from Suez near Kabret. 

The monument, also known as the Chalouf stele (alt. Shaluf Stele), records the construction of a forerunner of the modern Suez Canal by the Achaemenid dynasty of Iran, a canal through Wadi Tumilat, connecting the easternmost, Bubastite, branch of the Nile with Lake Timsah which was connected to the Red Sea by natural waterways. 


The Darius the Great Inscriptions reads:

“Saith King Darius: I am a Persian. Setting out from Persia, I conquered Egypt. I ordered this canal dug from the river called the Nile that flows in Egypt, to the sea that begins in Persia. When the canal had been dug as I ordered, ships went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, even as I intended 






Extracted From/Source: Egypt State information Service [*]




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