The Suez canal is a large artificial canal in Egypt, west of the Sinai Peninsula. It is 163 km (101 miles) long and 300 m (984 ft) wide at its narrowest point, and runs between Port Said (Bu-r Sa'i-d) on the Mediterranean Sea, and Suez (al-Suways) on the Red Sea. The canal allows two-way water transportation, most importantly between Europe and Asia without circumnavigation of Africa. Before its opening in 1869, goods were sometimes offloaded from ships and carried over land between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The canal comprises seven parts, north and south of the Great Bitter Lake, linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez on the Red Sea.