Interesting Facts About The Nile River

Published: 07th November 2011
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Located in Africa is the longest river on earth. It measures 4,132 miles and is called the Nile River. The word "Nile" originated with a Greek work, Neilos, and also an Egyptian word that means "valley" or "great river." In ancient Egypt, the river was called "Ar" or "Aur" which means black. This name stood for the rich, black soil that was a result of the flood waters that would nourish the soil along the banks of the Nile. Although the Nile River is usually associated with the country of Egypt, only 22% of the river actually runs through the country.

Throughout history, many famous people traveled along the waters of the Nile River. This includes Antony and Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Alexander the Great, Ramses II, King Tut and Caesar. There are many amazing sites along the way, including Aswan, Luxor, Esna, Kom Ombo and Edfu.

The river runs through the Egyptian deserts, creating a fertile green valley. The banks of the Nile are where the early Egyptians lived and farmed. They used the soil in to produce food for themselves and their livestock. In fact, ancient Egypt could not have existed without the resources they gained from the River Nile. Because of the desert and lack of rainfall, the river became a key component to their survival.

The Ethiopian highlands produced heavy summer rains every year between June and September. The Egyptians called this the "akhet" or inundation. This would send a torrent of water onto the banks of the Nile. The floods would leave rich thick mud, also called black silt, that was especially fertile soil for growing a harvest for the Egyptians. The floods were basically uncontrolled until the Aswan Dam was built in 1960. This was especially helpful when the huge flood came in 1970.

Growing along the banks of the Nile River were reeds, also called papyrus. The English word "paper" comes from the word "papyrus." This was an Egyptian word that meant "that which belongs to the house," referring to the bureaucracy of ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used these reeds to make boats, mattresses, chairs, mats, baskets and sandals. The most important use, however, was for paper. As the Egyptians moved into the written word, they found papyrus to be a better medium than stone. Papyrus is light, thin, strong, durable and easy to carry. It may have been used as early as 4,000 BC and was a medium for Egyptian writing for thousands of years.

The river also provided a place for the Egyptians to get food. Fish were abundant in the waters, as well as birds who would fly close to the waters edge. These both provided nourishment. They also used the waters of the Nile to travel in order to trade with other countries. This was helpful in the building of the pyramids, which were built close to the Nile's banks. Huge granite stones for the pyramids would be transported from Aswan via the Nile. It was convenient to just build the pyramids close to the water.

Many people don't realize that there are vacation packages that include a trip down the Nile River. In Cairo, your tour will begin with a warm welcome from your tour representative. You will then check into a hotel in Cairo and spend the night. A typical day on an Egyptian cruise would include visiting the pyramids, the sphinx, and an Egyptian museum.

On your Egyptian tour, you will probably take a day to go on a cruise down the Nile River. Lunch would be served on board and you would have the opportunity to visit the west bank, which includes the temple of Hatshepsut and also the Valley of the Kings and Queens. As you travel down the River Nile, the east bank would allow you to see the Luxor and Karnak Temples. You usually eat dinner on board and enjoy live entertainment. It's common to spend the night aboard the ship so that you can continue on your Nile River adventure the next day.

Still traveling along the Nile, you would visit the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Kom Ombo and the Komombo Temple. You would also get to visit the temple of Karnak and visit the High Dam, the Old Dam and the Granite Quarries. A trip down the Nile will show you these sites and many more.

If you are considering a Nile River adventure, plan ahead so that you can visit between the months of October and March. The weather is pleasantly cooler and the locks of the river are open. Of course, the water level of the Nile River can affect the cruise and sightseeing tours as well. All in all, however, a trip down the Nile River is an adventure of a lifetime that is well worth the time and money.


Doesn't a journey down the Nile River sound thrilling? Egyptian travel packages often include Nile cruises. You will get to visit ancient Egyptians quarries, temples and pyramids while cruising down the Nile.  Visit our website today to learn how to book your trip to the Nile River!

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