The Governorate of Northern Sinai occupies the northern section of the peninsula with the Mediterranean Sea in the North, The Governorate of North Sinai has a surface area of around 27564 square kilometers and a population of around 400,000 inhabitants with most of them residing by the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, except for some nomadic Bedouins who live in the desert located in the middle of Sinai.The environmental characteristics of North Sinai can be divided into two categories; the Coastal area of the Mediterranean Sea represented in the Northern plains and they are covered with sand dunes and the desert environment located inside the Sinai Peninsula with a large number of mountains like the Maghara Mountain being 776 meters high and the Halal Mountain being 881 meters high.
Having one of the longest beaches over the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, El Arish city is popular for its sandy beaches that are bordered by a large number of palm trees. The Egyptians, during different periods, of time took El Arish as an outpost in Sinai especially during the Roman and Ptolemaic eras and then the city was fortified during the Middle Ages and then during the ruling period of the Ottomans. Beduines come from places around Sinai such as Palestine, Saudi Arabia orJordan. They settled in Sinai long ago, even though the environment is and was quite tough for living. There is hardly anything else than sand and mountains. Only a closer glance shows that there are some few oasises, plants and animals that allow the Beduines to live anomadic life as they have always done.
The Bedunine Tribes as of Today
There are about 11-13 tribes to be distinguished in Sinai, depending on how to define clans and tribes. They are mostly living in tents so that they can leave the place again easily. Others are already living in smaller "wall-surrounded areas" where they usually stay. The boundaries of the Beduines tribes are indistinct. However, they are understood by a long tradition, each area has been known and respected most of the time. In the past tribal raiding was evident, the history of these movements, alliances and eventual extinction in some cases is fascinating.
Aleiqat: This tribe was one of the first that has settled in Sinai (at the time of the Islamic conquest of Egypt). Their territory is now on the west coast of Sinai.
Aquila: This quite small tribe lives on the Mediterranean coast, right between the Sawarka and the Laheiwat.
Awarma (Suwalha): In South Sinai this is one clan of the overall tribe Suwalha.
Awlad Said (Suwalha): In South Sinai this is one clan of the overall tribe Suwalha.
Ayaida: North Sinai, next to the Channel of Suez.
Gebeleya: These are the people of the mountains. As probably only about 1,500 people they have a very small tribal territory around Mt. Sinai. They are not of Arab descent but are descendants of Macedonian people sent by Emperor Justinian to build, protect and serve the Monastery in the sixth century AD.
Haweitat: The Haweitat have their origin in the Hijaz mountains of northern Arabia. They occupy a triangular area southeast of Suez.
Laheiwat: This tribe is split into 3 geographical areas: one in South Sinai (east), one at the Mediterranean Sea, and another one right next to the Channel of Suez.
Muszeina: this is the largest tribe in Sinai. These Beduines are living in the most southern part of Sinai and visitors of Sharm El Sheikwill most probably see them on their visit to Sinai.
Qararsha (Suwalha): In South Sinai this is one clan of the overall tribe Suwalha.
Tarabin: The Tarabin, who have tribal territories, or dirha, in both North and South Sinai, are of Palestinian origin
Tiyaha: This tribe occupies an enormous territory in central Sinai; they origine - just as the Tarabin - from Palestine
Suwarka: The Suwarka are the most numerous ones, They live in the north of Sinai, at the Mediterranean coast centred on Al Arish.
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