Built in 1859 and opened in November 1869, this was quite an engineering feat. The canal is 193 km long, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez, and separating the African continent from Asia. The distance from London to Mumbai is about 22,000km, but with use of the canal it is reduced to 11,000.
Unlike the Panama Canal, it contains no lock system. Seawater flows freely and generally the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. South of the lakes, the current changes with the tide at Suez.
The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt. Under the Convention of Constantinople, it may be used “in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.” Evidently at one point it was closed and ships were imprisoned in the canal for many years!