In ancient times, the Heroopolite Gulf was the Gulf of Suez in the vicinity of Heroopolis; there is evidence indicating that the Red Sea and its Gulf of Suez extended as far northward as the Bitter Lakes of Egypt.[1][2][3]

Ptolemy II Philadelphus opened a west–east "Suez" canal in Heroopolis (c. 270-269 BC)[4] and constructed a navigable lock,[2] with sluices,[2] between the Heroopolite Gulf and the Red Sea so as to allow the passage of vessels but prevent salt water from the Red Sea from mingling with the fresh water in the canal.[2]

Ancient cities which were at one time situated along the coastline of the Heroopolite Gulf include Arsinoe, Heroopolis and Olbia.


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Suez Canal" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 22.
  2. ^ a b c d Rappoport, S. (Doctor of Philosophy, Basel). History of Egypt (1904), Volume 3 Chapter V: "The Waterways of Egypt," pages 250-253. London: The Grolier Society.[1]
  3. ^ However, Descriptions de l'Égypte, Volume 11 (État Moderne), containing Mémoire sur la communication de la mer des Indes à la Méditerranée par la mer Rouge et l'Isthme de Sueys (by J.M. Le Père, ingénieur en chef, inspecteur divisionnaire au corps impérial des ponts et chaussées, membre de l'Institut d'Égypte, p. 21 - 186) describe remains of the ancient canal found immediately north of Suez
  4. ^ F. W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World 1981:202. Ptolemy II Philadelphus's lifespan was 309 BC–246 BC.