The Red Sea, or what is sometimes called the Erythraean Sea, is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal). The Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.
Red Sea is a direct translation of the Greek Erythra Thalassa and Latin Mare Rubrum, Arabic Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar or Baḥr Al-Qalzam , Somali Badda Cas and Tigrinya Qeyyiḥ bāḥrī. The name of the sea may signify the seasonal blooms of the red-coloured Trichodesmium erythraeum near the water's surface.
Historically, it was also known to western geographers as Mare Mecca (Sea of Mecca), and Sinus Arabicus (Gulf of Arabia).Some ancient geographers called the Red Sea the Arabian Gulf or Gulf of Arabia.
The association of the Red Sea with the Biblical account of the Israelite Crossing the Red Sea is ancient, and was made explicit in the Septuagint translation of the Book of Exodus from Hebrew to Koine Greek in approximately the third century B.C. In that version, the Hebrew Yam Suph is translated as Erythra Thalassa (Red Sea). The Red Sea is one of four seas named in English after common color terms — the others being the Black Sea, the White Sea and the Yellow Sea.
The Red Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, owing to high evaporation. Salinity ranges from between ~36 ‰ in the southern part because of the effect of the Gulf of Aden water and reaches 41 ‰ in the northern part, owing mainly to the Gulf of Suez water and the high evaporation. The average salinity is 40%. (Average salinity for the world's seawater is ~35 ‰ on the Practical Salinity Scale, or PPS; that translates to 3.5% actual dissolved salts.)
The Red Sea is part of the sea roads between Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, and as such has heavy shipping traffic. Government-related bodies with responsibility to police the Red Sea area include the Port Said Port Authority, Suez Canal Authority and Red Sea Ports Authority of Egypt, Jordan Maritime Authority, Israel Port Authority, Saudi Ports Authority and Sea Ports Corporation of Sudan.
The sea is known for its spectacular recreational diving sites, such as Ras Mohammed, SS Thistlegorm (shipwreck), Elphinstone Reef, The Brothers, Daedalus Reef, St.John's Reef, Rocky Island in Egypt and less known sites in Sudan such as Sanganeb, Abington, Angarosh and Shaab Rumi.
The Red Sea became a sought-after diving destination after the expeditions of Hans Hass in the 1950s, and later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Popular tourist resorts include El Gouna, Hurghada, Safaga, Marsa Alam, on the west shore of the Red Sea, and Sharm-El-Sheikh, Dahab, and Taba on the Egyptian side of Sinaï, as well as Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel in an area known as the Red Sea Riviera.