back as during the Roman Empire. An indication of the Roman roots in the area lies not far from Safaga at the old Roman city of Mons Claudianus, just eight kilometres north of Quseir. Here there are archaeological excavations by the roadside which have exposed a large amount of pottery, as well as the remains of buildings. The Red Sea Hills make a stunning backdrop to Safaga, looming out of the Eastern Desert and cut by wadis that are filled with sand dunes and oases. Up into the hills there are abandoned phosphate and granite mines that used to be quarried in order to trade along the coast with India.