The Nile inundation.

Egypt was created by the Nile (the ancient Egyptian name of it was Iteru) and the ancient Egyptians were entirely dependent on it. In the past, Egypt's climate was more humid than it is today, but rain was a rare event. It was the river which provided all the water for Egyptian households, gardens and farms.

Every year in mid-July, the river rose by as much as several meters when the Nile inundation arrived. The huge increase in the volume of water in the river was due to rains in the south, outside the Egyptian borders, in the mountains of Ethiopia. The whole of the Nile valley was transformed into a huge lake: fields were completely submerged and many cities and villages became temporary islands. When the water receded in September it left behind a deposit of very fine silt which served as natural fertilizer for fields.

Nowadays, the effect of the Nile inundation is not so noticeable because of the dams which have been built in the southern part of Egypt, especially at Aswan.

The picture shows the area near the pyramids at Giza during inundation at the end of the last century, before the building of the Nile dams. Photograph by Pascal Sébah, Griffith Institute photo. 3345. © Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Back to Chariot to Heaven
Back to The Sphinx Nose.