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Damietta, Damiata, or Domyat ( ) is a port and the capital of the governorate of Domyat, Egyptmarker. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Seamarker and the Nile, about north of Cairomarker.


In Ancient Egypt, the city was known as Tamiat, but it became less important in the Hellenic period after the construction of Alexandriamarker.

The Abbasids use Alexandriamarker, Damietta, Adenmarker and Sirafmarker as entry ports to India and China.

Damietta was important in the 12th and 13th centuries during the time of the Crusades. In 1169, a fleet from the Kingdom of Jerusalem, with support from the Byzantine Empire, attacked the port, but it was defeated by Saladin.

During preparations for the Fifth Crusade in 1217, it was decided that Damietta should be the focus of attack. Control of Damietta meant control of the Nile, and from there the crusaders believed they would be able to conquer Egyptmarker. From Egypt they could then attack Palestine and recapture Jerusalemmarker. When the port was besieged and occupied by Frisian crusaders in 1219, Francis of Assisi arrived to peaceably negotiate with the Muslim ruler. In October 1218 reinforcements arrived including the Legate Pelagius with the English earls Ranulf of Chester, Saer of Winchester and William Aubigny of Arundel together with one Odonel Aubigny, Robert Fitz Walter, John Lacy of Chester, William Harcourt and Oliver the illegitimate son of King John. In 1221 the Crusaders attempted to march to Cairo, but were destroyed by the combination of nature and Muslim defenses.

Damietta was also the object of the Seventh Crusade, led by Louis IX of France. His fleet arrived there in 1249 and quickly captured the fort, though he refused to hand it over to the nominal king of Jerusalem, to whom it had been promised during the Fifth Crusade. However, Louis too was eventually captured and defeated and was forced to give up the city.

Because of its importance to the Crusaders, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars destroyed the city and rebuilt it with stronger fortifications a few kilometres from the river.


  • Amr Ibn Al-a'as Mosque (Al-Fateh) the 2nd mosque to be built in Egypt and Africa by the Arabs after entering Egypt. It has been converted to a church twice during occupation by the crusaders and Louis IX of France son Jean Tristan was Baptised by vice of the Pope in this Mosque.
  • Al-Matbuly Mosque dating to Mamluk era.
  • Al-Maainy Mosque dating to Al-Naser Mohammed Ibn Qalawon regin.
  • Al-Bahr Mosque dating to Ottmon rule era.
  • Al--Hadidy Mosque in Faraskour 200 years old.
  • Tabiet Ahmed Urabi, ruins of Damietta Fort at Ezbet El-Borg.
  • Al-Radwaniya Mosque dating to Mamluk era.
  • The Old Bridge " Elkobri Elqadeem" dating to early 1900s.
  • Souk Al-Hesba, the old dowm town, dating to Abbasi rule era.

Damietta today

Today there is a canal connecting it to the Nile, which has made it an important port once again. The modern city has a population of about 1,093,580 (2006). It contains the SEGAS LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) plant, which will ultimately have a capacity of 9.6 million ton/year through two trains. The plant is owned by Segas, a joint venture of the Spanish utility Unión Fenosa (40%), Italian oil company Eni (40%) and the Egyptian companies EGAS and EGPC (10% each).The plant is unusual since it is not supplied from a dedicated field, but is supplied with gas from the Egyptian grid. EMethanex, the Egyptian division of Methanex a Canadian owned company, is currently building a 3600 MTPD methanol plant. Construction is scheduled to be finished in mid 2010.

Notable natives

Economic activity

Market street in Damietta

Domyat in culture

  • A frigate of the Egyptian Navy bought from US Navy USS Jesse L. Brown was renamed the Damyat after Damietta.
  • Amietophrynus kassasii (Baha El Din, 1993) "Damietta Toad" one of the genus Amietophrynus.
  • It was visited by LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin in 1929.
  • Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Metropolis of Damietta, Kafr-el-Sheikh, and Bararye, under jurisdiction of H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy.
  • The Greek Orthodox bishop was based in Damietta in the church of Agios Nikolaos.

See also


  1. Donkin, Robin A. (2003). Between East and West: The Moluccas and the Traffic in Spices Up to the Arrival of Europeans. Diane Publishing Company. ISBN 0871692481.
  2. Remfry, P.M., (1997). Buckenham Castles, 'The Aubignys and the Fifth Crusade, 1218 to 1221'. ISBN 1-899376-05-4.
  3. Al-Damiri

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