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Tiran Island

Discover Egypt Travel / Sharm ElShekh  / Tiran Island

Tiran Island

Snorkeling, coral reefs, reefs, nature reserves

Tiran (Arabic: جزيرة تيران‎‎ Jazīrat Tīrān,   is an island  that is administered by Egypt. The island is located at the entrance of the Straits of Tiran, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It has an area of about 80 square kilometres (31 square miles). It is part of the Ras Muhammad National Park. The Straits of Tiran is Israel’s only access from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea, and Egypt’s blockade of the Straits of Tiran on 22 May 1967 was the casus bellifor Israel in the Six Day War.

Tiran Island is of strategic significance in the area, as it forms the narrowest section of the Straits of Tiran, which is an important sea passage to the major ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Israel briefly took over Tiran Island during the Suez Crisis and again from 1967 to 1982 following the Six Day War. The island is inhabited only by military personnel from Egypt and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).   Chisholm Point is a cape of Tiran Island.    Some sources report that many beaches on the island are mined.

On 9 April 2016, the Egyptian government declared that Tiran and Sanafir Island fall within the territorial waters of Saudi Arabia, as codified in the maritime border agreement signed with the government of Saudi Arabia on the previous day.   The agreement needs to be ratified by Egypt’s Parliament,   and has reportedly been quashed by an Egyptian judge.

Tiran may be the island that Procopius called Iotabe, which was an important toll station for shipping in the area, but other islands in the Gulf of Aqaba have been proposed as alternative identifications. In 473 a Saracen named Amorkesos captured the island and appropriated the revenues, but the Byzantine Empireretook it 25 years later, granting its inhabitants autonomy, subject to payment of taxes on goods exported to India. Around 534, the Byzantines had to retake it again from a group whom Choricius of Gaza called an unholy race, and whom some scholars suppose to have been the Jewish inhabitants who had refused to pay the taxes.

The earliest and latest dates mentioned in relation to Iotabe are given in relation to the participation of bishops of the island in the church councils: Macarius in the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (in whose acts the diocese is listed as belonging to the Roman province of Palaestina Tertia), and Anastasius in a synod held at Jerusalem in 536.

There is no mention of Iotape in accounts of the Islamic conquests, suggesting that by then the island was uninhabited

Since it is no longer a residential bishopric, Iotape, in its Latin form called Iotapa in Palaestina, is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular .

Transport :   The planned Saudi-Egypt Causeway would pass through Tiran Island.