Sometimes the richest, most fascinating stories are the simplest and most enchanting. As you might imagine, the Nile
was a source of abundance and life for the people of Ancient Egypt. At 6,650 km long, or more than one and a half times the width of Australia, that’s a lot of life!
Comprised of two main tributaries, the White Nile from equatorial Africa and the Blue Nile from the Abyssinian highlands, the Nile is arguably the most regarded river in the world. Indeed, the country’s ancient regions were named in congruence with the river’s flow; Upper Egypt among the southern banks, and Lower Egypt residing in the north.
The Nile was critical to the country’s development in myriad ways. Although Egyptian spirituality associates certain Gods with the Nile, such as Hapy, the God of Inundation, the Nile was not prominent in religious discourse of the past. Instead, communities established on the banks of the Nile because of Akhet, the annual flooding in August and September.
Ancient life developed around the river’s annual inundation. Heavy rains soaked the river delta and floodplains, contributing to rich, fertile soil that supported the cultivation of crops. They produced the sustenance local people used to feed, clothe, and trade. Papyrus to make paper, rope, and sandals. Flax to weave linen clothing. Wheat, the staple crop, to make bread and sell to the Middle East for prosperity. The Nile’s cool, fresh waters also provided the principal source of protein: fish.
The culture’s focus on the Nile contributed to Egypt’s increasing population. Hallmarks of this growth period were political stability, unity, and an effort to expand the fertile land. History incites us to know more, to explore the world that has changed dramatically throughout our existence. It inspires us to travel to the far corners of the earth and every place in between. Even the most descriptive texts of the Nile’s history read through the screen of your laptop computer or mobile, can’t compare with what it’s like to experience it. To sail the Nile’s ancient waters and watch it swallow the evening sun from aboard a deluxe Nile River cruise is not just a holiday; it’s a rejuvenation.