Aqaba Aqaba or (Arabic العقبة, DMG al - ʿ Aqaba, local pronunciation el- ʿ Agabe, for steep slope ) is a city in Jordan with 80 059 inhabitants ( 2004 census ). It is a seaport on the Gulf of Aqaba ( also the Gulf of Eilat ), an arm of the Red Sea.

Aqaba is the only seaport of Jordan. Main sources of income are tourism and the export of phosphate fertilizer. Aqaba is the only Jordanian dive site in the Red Sea. Already under King Hussein I. part of the coral reefs in the 1990s was put under protection and created another artificial reefs. Nevertheless, the coral reefs are more at risk.

Aqaba is a free trade zone and has an airport.


Even in ancient Aqaba was an important trading center. At the site of the present city probably existed two, called in the Bible, progenitor settlements, namely Eilat and Ezion Geber.

Under the rule of the Ptolemies the place was called Berenike. By the year 106 AD. the town belonged to the kingdom of the Nabataeans to, but was turned down by the conquest of the kingdom by the Romans under the name Aila or Aelana in the province of Arabia Petraea.

With the division of the kingdom 395, the city came to the Byzantine Empire.

After the rise of Islam, the city was already during Muhammad's first major expansion 622-632 part of the Caliphate. In the 12th century the city was conquered by the Crusaders and built on the nearby island of Pharaoh, the castle Helim. Under Saladin, the city was conquered in 1170 and 1250 came under the influence of the Mamluks. From the early 16th century to 1917, the city was part of the Ottoman Empire.

To the east of Aqaba, numerous petroglyphs are documented showing the use of the desert between the Chalcolithic and the present.

In July 1917, the city was by the Arab tribes Faisal I be taken under the command of Thomas Edward Lawrence after a forced march through the desert Nefud. Until 1946, the city remained as a part of Transjordan under British control and then became the largest port city in the state of Jordan.

From November 1956 to January 1957, the town was occupied by Israel ( Suez Crisis ).


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