The city of Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century. Until a few years ago it was a small fishing village but since the 1980s has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading coastal resort on the Red Sea. Holiday villages and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scubdivers and snorkelers . Hurghada is known for its watersports activities, nightlife and warm weather.
Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometers along the seashore , and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe, notably Italians and Germans. Today Hurghada counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into 3 parts:
- Downtown (El Dahar) is the old part.
- Sekalla is the city center.
- El Memsha (Village road) is the modern part.
Sakalla is the relatively modest hotel quarter. Dahar is where the town's largest bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus station are situated.
The city is served by the Hurghada International Airport with scheduled passenger traffic connecting to Cairo and directly with several cities in Europe. The airport has undergone renovations to accommodate rising traffic.
The village which later evolved into what is now the city of Hurghada was settled in 1905. It acquired its name from a plant which has grown naturally since ancient times. By then it was only a fishing village. Oil was discovered in the area in 1913, but actual production and export only began in 1921 under British oil magnates. During the reign of King Farouk a recreational center was built in the city, but after President Nasser's nationalzation of Egypt's industries it was turned over to the armed forces. During the October War of 1973, Israel forces attempted to occupy shadwan Island east of the city in the red sea, but the men of the Egyptian armed forces confronted them, and were able to defeat them and expel them from the island.
Although a town in its own right Hurghada's current major industry is foreign and domestic tourism , owing to its drmatic landscape , year-round dry and temperate climate and long stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various watersports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkelling.
Dive sites around Abu Ramada Island, Giftun Kebir and Giftun Soraya are popular. Tourists also visit shipwrecks such as the El Mina or the Rosalie Moller. The beach at Hurghada is not secluded, out to sigala the beach is then followed by coastal holiday villages and then desert.