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Ships, Ports, and Shipbuilding

Collection of 9 Articles





The Egyptians used ships on the Nile for travel, trade, and entertainment. A powerful navy protected their trade routes. By the Islamic period, many shipbuilding centers and important ports were established.

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Shipbuilding in Ancient Egypt

Numerous Ancient Egyptian reliefs and paintings depict how workers built the several types of ships used at the time.

Ancient Egyptian Nile Boats

Boats and ships were very important means of transport for the ancient Egyptians. Model boats found in tombs provide knowledge about the different types of boats in ancient Egypt.

The Boats of Tutankhamun

Wooden boat models of different types and functions were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. These models would act symbolically to transport the king on his journey through the underworld.

The Ptolemaic Navy

The Ptolemaic navy protected Egypt and guaranteed its political and economic independence. The ships, whether in the naval, merchant, or river fleet, were built in a variety of styles.

The Astrolabe, an Astronomical Tool for Navigation

The astrolabe was an astronimical instrument used for navigation that the Muslims excelled at making. They created beautifully designed astrolabes and calibrated them with extreme accuracy.

Shipbuilding and Trade in the Islamic Period

In the Islamic period, the River Nile played an important role in international trade and the shipbuilding industry.

The Port of Alexandria in the Islamic Period

Alexandria was a major commercial market with a strong shipbuilding industry.

Al-Fustat, Islamic Port and Arsenal

Al-Fustat, an important Islamic port and shipbuilding arsenal, became the center of foreign marine trade because of its location on the Nile.

Bulaq and Other Important Ports in Islamic Egypt

Because of their location on the Nile, many cities such as Bulaq, Rosetta, and Damietta became important commercial centers and shipbuilding arsenals during the Islamic period.

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