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The River Nile

There is no better way to trace the course of Egyptian history than to follow the course of the Nile. The river has been Egypt's lifeline for millenniums, fertilizing the narrow strip of land along its bank with a deposit of silt after each annual inundation - now controlled by the High Dam at Aswan. Along its length Pharaohs, nobles and lesser mortals have all built monuments and tombs to immortalize themselves.

The Nile is Associated with Life

"Egypt is the gift of the River Nile", said Herodotus, the great Greek historian, on his only visit to Egypt

Alexander the Great then extended both Alexandria and Cisostris canals. The latter joins the River Nile and the Red Sea, and was later rebuilt by Amr Ibn El-As. In 1861, Mohammed Ali constructed barrages to substitute the basin irrigation system with a year-round system. Several waterways, such as El-Mahmoudia, El-Ibrahimia and El-Ismailia, were then dug.

In 1901 a new dam was built in Aswan, which was then elevated many times later until finally, Egyptians built the High Dam in Aswan.

The High Dam:

The High Dam was seen to symbolize the iron will and great steadfastness of the Egyptian people.

It protected them against the annual River Nile inundation, saved the excess water to be used later at different times, and thereby spared them the sufferings of drought. The High Dam is the most important project that Egyptians have implemented for Nile water management. In fact, it is a landmark in their history. This eminent dam reflects positively on various areas such as irrigation, agriculture and power generation. Hundreds of feddans are now continuously irrigated instead of using the basin system, and more than a million feddans are now reclaimed. Moreover, electrical power is generated on daily basis.

The River Nile's downstream surface is 2.9km2. It is considered the longest river in the world, as it flows for 6690km, starting from Tanganicka Lake to the Mediterranean Sea. On its journey it passes through nine different countries; namely Tanzania, Kenya, Zaire, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Sudan and Egypt. Along its way it encounters many rocky waterfalls, makes sudden deep drops, then flows along rapidly up and down to reach Egypt's land quietly and safely.

Nile cruise was wonderful -- a relaxing, and relatively cool way to see the sites and rural life along the river. The river itself was absolutely beautiful. It was very peaceful to float down the Nile viewing the rural countryside and watching people work and play along the fertile green riverbanks.  Each day the boat docked at a new site and we were able to get off the boat, view the site, and then return to the calm of the boat.