Pharaoh’s Island, also called Coral Island or Geziret Fara’un, lies eight kilometers south of Taba and 250 meters off the coast. The small island is surrounded by magnificent reefs in the outstanding blue and turquoise waters of the Red Sea . From atop the island you overlook 4 countries: Egypt , Israel , Jordan and Saudi Arabia .
Not much is known about the island’s history. It was once a Phoenician port (10 th century BCE). Some scholars believe it to be Etzion Gever with its artificial port the location used during King Solomon’s time for his trade and mining industries. The port was used by the Romans as well as by the Byzantines during their reign of power in the region. In the middle ages the island named “ Ile de Graye” was occupied by the Crusaders. The Crusader fortress was originally built by Baldwin I, the King of Jerusalem, to protect pilgrims traveling between Jerusalem and the Monastery of St Katherine and to harass Arab trade. In 1170 the island was then taken under control by Sultan Salah El Din. In a counter-attack, the notorious crusader, Reynald de Chatillon, took the island, but lost it again to Muslim forces the following year. The citadel was reconstructed during Salah El Din and the island became known as Saladin’s Castle. Under the Mamelukes and Ottomans the castle was further enhanced. In his records legendary Lawrence of Arabia tells of an unauthorized visit to the island in 1914.
The fortress, completely renovated in the 1990s, has many small rooms as sleeping quarters, bath houses and kitchens, some with arched doorways