The Nile River is one of the greatest waterways on planet Earth. It is no exaggeration to say that the Nile is the source of life for all of Africa and, in particular, for Egypt.
For a long time, this river was considered the longest in the world (about 6,700 km), but it has now been established that the length of the Amazon is greater. The Nile is unusual not only for its length but also for its “behavior”.
In the hottest months of the year, instead of drying out, like other, numerous bodies of water in this part of the globe, it overflows the banks, overflowing, changing color, and staining the flooded areas with red water.
The origin of the name of the river goes back centuries, at a time when the birth of world civilizations was just taking place. The word “Nile” is derived from the ancient Greek “Neilos”. The Greeks also called the river “Agyptos”, hence, most likely, Egypt originated.
The role of the Nile for the formation and development of the ancient Egyptian civilization, which, along with the Sumerian civilization, is considered the progenitor of all cultures, cannot be estimated. Egypt is the Nile. The rich flora and fauna of the river, a huge amount of silt settling on the ground after the spill is just a small part of the gifts.
In ancient times, the world around was fraught with many dangers: droughts, floods, death from the attack of animals. A good relationship with nature had to be earned. Thus, the ancient Egyptians worshiped the Nile crocodile, the god Sebek.
It was believed that the god with the head of a crocodile protects from the forces of darkness. In honor of him, temples were built, where specially decorated animals reigned, which after death were buried with great honors. The crocodiles left the Nile today. Moreover, these are some of the most ancient animals – a rarity in Africa as a whole.
Source and tributaries of the Nile
Since antiquity, it has remained a mystery where the river takes its waters, which prompts it to fill the valley every year. Various assumptions were made, but none of them was final. That is why for a long time in art the allegorical image of the Nile looked like a deity with a draped head, which symbolized ignorance.
Currently, there is no single point of view either regarding the origins or regarding the extent. It is precisely known that the Nile flows from the East African plateau, the most remote point of which is considered the Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria.
High flow and floods are provided by tributaries. The most famous of them are Blue and the White Nile. The White Nile flows from Lake Victoria. It got its name from the color of the water, colored by the clay suspensions it contains. The Blue Nile originates from Lake Tan (Ethiopian Highlands), and it is its waters that determine the entire volume of the Nile.
In Ethiopia, the Blue Nile is a sacred river that locals worship and donate food.
The change in color of the Nile during the flood season is again caused by tributaries. Red is the mountain minerals contained in the water, traces of melted glaciers. Green is a heritage of tropical vegetation.
Basin and Nile Valley
The Nile is huge. Traditionally, this river is associated only with Egypt, but a huge number of states are located in its basin: Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda. A little more than 20% of the Nile is located on the territory of Egypt, the rest is in other countries.
This small percentage created the Nile Valley, a kind of tourist oasis, a paradise for fans of archeology and history. Most of the large Egyptian cities, including the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa – Cairo, are located on the banks of the Nile.
The valley stretches from the delta, where the river divides into channels and flows into the Mediterranean Sea, to the southern border with Sudan. In addition to cities, there are the most ancient and most famous cultural monuments, some of the most interesting museums: the pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, Luxor and Karnak Temples, the Valley of the Kings, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
For those who like to see everything and at once there are cruises on the Nile, popular among travelers back in the 19th century.
One of the most famous travels on the Nile is described in the book by Agatha Christie with the terrifying title “Death on the Nile”. This work demonstrates the high degree of popularity of cruises among the wealthy strata of European society in the early 20th century.
Many film adaptations have been made based on the book. So those who wish can easily get acquainted with the Egyptian flavor and even with the cruise route along the Nile, watching and revising their favorite movies.
The main city of the Valley is Cairo. Its Old Town attracts a huge number of tourists. There is also a well-known museum that houses the largest number of objects of ancient Egyptian art in the world.
In its southwestern suburb of Giza, there is one of the wonders of the world, the famous pyramid-tombs of the pharaohs Cheops, Khafre, and Mikerin, created before our era.
Not far from the pyramids is the Great Sphinx, with its nose split off during the Napoleonic Wars at the end of the 18th century. Memphis and Saqqara will delight you with a giant statue of Ramses, the Serapeum, and an ancient cemetery.
The second-largest city, but extremely important in importance, is Alexandria. This seaport was founded by Alexander the Great and is known, first of all, for its losses – a lighthouse, which is also one of the wonders of the world, and the legend of the Alexandria Library.
Everyone has heard about Luxor and Thebes in one way or another: the temples of Karnak and Luxor, the Valley of Queens and Kings, the Colossi of Memnon and the Ramesseum, the temple of Hatshepsut – all this is located here.
In Aswan live Nubian community and is the dam that turned the Nile River into a compliant, allowing harvest to three times a year. Cities with difficult to pronounce names of El-Fayoum, Beni-Mazar, El-Minya will demonstrate how representatives of the wealthy class live. Great villas and a high standard of living – this is also Egypt.
Travel by Jakada Tours Egypt
To enjoy the beautiful landscapes and see the monuments of Egypt, check out our Egypt travel packages and if you want to enjoy exploring the temples and tombs of Upper Egypt, check out our Nile cruises.