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Great Bitter Lake

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Title: Great Bitter Lake  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Suez Canal, Operation Badr (1973), Battle of the Chinese Farm, Egyptian 25th Brigade ambush, Deversoir Air Base
Collection: Lakes of Egypt, Saline Lakes, Suez Canal
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Great Bitter Lake

Great Bitter Lake
Lake type salt water lake
Primary inflows Suez Canal
Primary outflows Suez Canal
Basin countries Egypt
Surface elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Several ships in the lake.

The Great Bitter Lake (Arabic: البحيرة المرة الكبرى‎; transliterated: al-Buhayrah al-Murra al-Kubra) is a salt water lake which is part of the Suez Canal. It is connected to the Small Bitter Lake (Arabic: البحيرة المرة الصغرى; transliterated: al-Buhayrah al-Murra as-Sughra), through which the canal also runs. Before the canal was built, their site was occupied by dry salt valleys.[1] Together, the Bitter Lakes have a surface area of about 250 km². The canal also runs through Lake Manzala and Lake Timsah, north of the Bitter Lakes.

As the canal has no locks, sea water flows freely into the lake from the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. In general, north of the lakes the current reverses seasonally, being north-going in winter and south-going in summer. South of the lakes, the current is tidal, reversing with the tides in the Red Sea.[2] Fish can migrate, generally in a northerly direction, through the canal and lakes in what is known as a Lessepsian migration. By this means some Red Sea species have come to colonize the eastern Mediterranean.

In the later part of World War II, the lake was used to intern Italian warships which had surrendered to the Allies, including the battleships Vittorio Veneto and Italia.

The Quincy Agreement

On 14 February 1945, Great Bitter Lake was the site of the Quincy Agreement. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, having flown directly from the Yalta Conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, met on board the naval cruiser USS Quincy with Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz.[3][4] President Roosevelt's interpreter was U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Bill Eddy who recorded the men's conversation in his book FDR Meets Ibn Saud.

The meeting is the subject of a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, entitled Bitter Lake (2015).

The Yellow Fleet

During the Woolworths.


  1. ^ Madl, Pierre (1999). Essay about the phenomenon of Lessepsian Migration, Colloquial Meeting of Marine Biology I, Salzburg, April 1999 (revised in Nov. 2001).
  2. ^ The Red Sea Pilot. Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. 1995. p. 266. 
  3. ^ Yergin, Daniel (1992). The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power. 
  4. ^ "President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz". SUSRIS. 17 March 2005. Retrieved 2014-11-10. 
  5. ^ Blair, Jonathon (June 1975). "New Life for the Troubled Suez Canal".  
  6. ^ Pearson, John; Anderson, Ken (May 1975). "A 'new' Suez Canal shapes up for 1980s".  
  7. ^ Ian Russel. )"MS Melampus"Melampus in Suez (the tale of a soldier on the . The Blue Funnel Line 1866 - 1986. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
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