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Strait of Tiran, with Tiran
Strait of Tiran, with Tiran
Waters Strait of Tiran ,
Red Sea
Geographical location 27 ° 57 '  N , 34 ° 33'  E Coordinates: 27 ° 57 '  N , 34 ° 33'  E
Tiran (Egypt)
length 15.1 km
width 7.2 km
surface 64.6 km²
Highest elevation Jebel Tīrān
524  m
Residents uninhabited
main place (Observation Post 3-11)
Map of the Tiran Road
Map of the Tiran Road

Tiran ( Arabic جزيرة تيران, DMG Ǧazīrat Tīrān ) is an uninhabited island in the Red Sea , a few kilometers south of the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba . It has been administered by Egypt since 1950 , together with the neighboring island of Sanafir to the east , but originally belonged to Saudi Arabia .


The island is part of the Strait of Tiran and its namesake. Today the 64.6 km² island belongs to the Ras Mohammed National Park . The island is a little further from mainland Saudi Arabia ( Raʾs al-Qaṣba , 6.9 km) than from Egypt ( Sinai Peninsula , 6.1 km). The highest point is the Jabal Tīrān in the south of the island. The neighboring island of Sanafir is located 2.8 km east of Tiran, separated from it by the Ḥalq al-Qarūš strait . The reef Šaʿb Abū Tinūn lies between the two islands . The island allows control of access from the Israeli port city of Eilat and the Jordanian port of Aqaba to the Red Sea , with the shipping channel running through Egyptian waters.


The affiliation of Tiran and Sanafir has long been disputed between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

According to Prokopios of Caesarea , the island was settled by the Jewish community of Iotabe until the 6th century .

In 1906 Great Britain took control of Tiran and Sanafir in a treaty with the Ottoman Empire . The Egyptian claims to the islands were based on him. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, stated that it leased the two islands to Egypt in 1950 in order to prevent an occupation by Israel.

On May 22nd, 1967, the Strait of Egypt was blocked with the help of the islands, which triggered the Six Day War for Israel . As during the Suez Crisis in 1956, Israel occupied the islands and held control until 1982, when they withdrew from Sinai. After that 1900 members of the Egyptian military and a dozen Americans of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) were stationed on the island . Definitive sovereignty over the island of Tiran was deliberately left in the dark by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, due to its geostrategic importance as Israel's only access to the Red Sea, until Egypt officially ceded rule over Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in 2016. This led to protests against the government in Egypt. The protesters viewed the handover as a sale of Egyptian territory. The handover to Saudi Arabia was temporarily stopped by an Egyptian court on June 21, 2016, as the sale of Egyptian land is prohibited by the constitution. In the second instance, on September 20, 2016, an appeals court in Cairo allowed the surrender. The government had argued that Egypt never owned the islands, only managed them. At the end of December 2016, the Egyptian government under President Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi prepared the return to Saudi Arabia.

At the beginning of 2017, the Egyptian Supreme Court ruled that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir remain Egyptian territory and that the assignment or return to Saudi Arabia by President Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi is inadmissible.

At the beginning of April 2017, a special court for express proceedings in Cairo overturned the judgment of the highest administrative court, which had forbidden the surrender in January. On June 14, 2017, the Egyptian parliament approved the handover.

Economy and Transport

The reefs around the island are a well known diving area . Civilians are not allowed to enter the island itself.

Tiran is to become part of a planned Saudi-Egyptian motorway connection via bridges . A bridge between the islands of Tiran and Sanafir is planned for this Neom project . This bridge would create a land connection from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and thus to the Middle East.

Web links

Commons : Tiran Island  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Paul-Anton Krüger: The king's new islands . Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 12, 2016.
  2. ^ Prokopios of Caesarea . Buildings, History of the Wars, and Secret History , ed. by HB Dewing and G. Downey, Loeb Classical Library , 7 vols., Cambridge / MA 1914-40, I.xix.4. Jaroslav Tkáč : Iotabe . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume IX, 2, Stuttgart 1916, Col. 2000-2002.
  3. Robert Priewasser: Tiran Iceland and Straits of Tiran. Unexplained Sovereignty over an Island in the Context of the Arab-Israeli Conflict . Akademikerverlag, Saarbrücken 2013.
  4. Egypt's opaque island deal . Handelsblatt, April 16, 2016.
  5. Egypt: Court stops surrender of islands to Saudi Arabia . shz.de, June 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Egyptian court approves transfer of Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia Middle East Eye, September 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Egypt's government approves transfer of islands to Saudis . AP, December 30, 2016.
  8. Sisi is not allowed to cede islands . , Tagesschau.de, January 16, 2017.
  9. Egyptian court allows transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia . Euronews.com, April 3, 2017.
  10. Is the Palestinians about to leave? FAZ.net, December 16, 2017.
  11. Observation Post 3-11 - Tiran Island . GlobalSecurity.org.
  12. Ex-Siemens boss is to plan futuristic megacities for Saudi Arabia . In: sueddeutsche.de . October 24, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.