6. Route. 405
A little farther to the N. is the mouth of the Fresh Water
Canal (p. 395)f, the flow of which 'into the conduits, as well as
its discharge into the sea, is regulated by means of a large lock.
The level of the canal is here 6'/-2 ft- above that of the Red Sea.
The large buildings to the N. of it are the English Naval Hospital
and the engine-house of the 'Compagnie des Eaux.' To the E. of
the canal is the large camping-ground for the caravans coming
from Arabia, which sometimes number as many as a thousand
camels and present a most interesting sight. On the way from the
kiosque of the Khedive to the canal are a number of salt pools,
sometimes tinged red by innumerable microscopically small
crabs, which, in the morning especially, diffuse an odour resem¬
bling that of violets. The small neighbouring eminence is called
the Beduins' Hill. Opposite, to the E., beyond the railway, is the
Arabian sailors' quarter, consisting of dirty mud-hovels.
A massive *Pier, about l3/^ M. in length, resting on a sub¬
structure of artificial stone, 48 ft. in width, extends into the sea
to the S. of the town, leading to the *Harbour. (Boat thither,
see p. 401.) The foundation of the pier and of the whole of the
quays rests upon a sandbank stretching out from the land in the
shape of a hook, and heightened by the addition of large quantities
of earth dredged from the S. end of the canal. The deposits of
earth thus made also enabled the canal company to embank an
area of about 50 acres, on which the arsenal, magazines, work¬
shops, and buildings connected with the docks were erected.
The pier affords a pleasant and interesting promenade (donkey
1-2 fr., according to the time), commanding beautiful views of the
bay and the mountains enclosing it. At low tide the outline of the
sandbank is distinctly traceable.
'The 'Ataka Mts. to the W. of the town looked as if composed of
a liquid mixture of molten garnets and amethysts. They were reflected
in the water at their base, the ebb of which gradually disclosed more
and more of the ramparts and buildings around the harbour and the
entrance to the canal. The lofty pier, carrying the railway from the
anchorage of the large vessels to the town, overtopped all the other
buildings, the sandbanks, and the deep pools left isolated by the
retiring tide. Men riding on donkeys and camels were passing along the
pier, and the lower the sun sank, the sharper did their outlines become
against the glowing horizon, until at length they looked like black
shadows on a transparent golden yellow and violet wall of glass. At
length the darkness closed in, and the roads were shrouded in night'.
At the end of the pier we first reach a small dock of the Canal
Company on the left, with a lighthouse (white light), beyond which
+ Before the construction of the canal the inhabitants of Suez derived
a supply of bad water from the Springs of Moses, which was brought to
the town by camels and donkeys; and they were afterwards supplied with
Nile water by railway, at a cost of l'/a centimes per quart. 'What a
notable day (29th Dec, 1863) was it then in the town's history when the
fresh-water canal was opened, and the life-giving element flowed from
the desert into the town in exhaustless abundance! It seemed like a
repetition of one of the miracles of Moses.' H. Stephan.