The Nile, the symbol of rebirth and eternal life for the ancient Egyptians, has been considered for thousands of years to be the blood of Egypt. Seen from a height, the river appears to be a long, green ribbon that passes through the arid desert. This ribbon is Egypt, one of the greatest civilizations of the world, developed precisely because of the Nile.
The Nile stretches from the mountains of Rwanda and Burundi to Sudan, southern Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt along a length of 6,690 km to the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, the Nile is the longest river in the world. From Khartoum in Sudan, the river flows north to Cairo in Egypt, where it is divided into two main channels, one of which flows into the Mediterranean Sea in Damietta, about 65 km from the Said port and the other heading to Rasheed. Here, in 1799, the famous Rosetta stone was discovered, helping to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Nile Delta formed Between the two arms of the Nile, and voers an area of 24,000 square kilometers where more than 85% of the Egyptian population lives.
For the Egyptians, the Nile was and still is the center of civilization and the engine of their development. It favored growing crops, provided valuable fish and papyruses. People’s gratitude for the river can be heard in the Nile Hymn, which is supposed to have been composed during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2050 – 1750 BC). Greek historian Herodotus often stressed the close relationship between the country and the river: “Egypt is the gift of the Nile.”
At present, Nile cruises are considered to be the most interesting activities in Egyptian holidays, evoking romantic images around the unique attractions. In Victorian times, the cruise on the Nile River was the only way to see some of Egypt’s most remarkable temples. Nowadays, visitors have more options; although Nile cruises are still popular, some prefer to distance themselves from the crowd, choosing small boats.
What should you expect during a Nile Cruise?
Most of the cruise ships depart from Aswan, a city around which visitors can admire the huge Aswan Dam, Philadelphia Isis Goddess Temple, ancient granite quarries and the Unfinished Obelisk, the largest obelisk ever carved by ancient Egyptians, consisting of granite blocks of over 1000 tons. Next, the cruise ships head towards Kom Ombo, where visitors will explore the Temple of Goddesses Sobek and Haeroris, a temple to be built during the Ptolemaic Dynasty between 180 and 47 BC.
The ancient city of Edfu is probably one of the most exciting places to cruise on the Nile, and its famous Horus Temple is the best preserved temple in Egypt. Built in the 2nd century BC, the temple seems to have a “younger” look compared to other ancient Egyptian antiquities. Only the huge hieroglyphs and dazzling decorations on its massive walls betray its real age.
Eventually, the cruises stop in Luxor, where visitors are guided to the Luxor and Karnak Temples, both built in the place where the ancient city of Teba once existed. The temples are found, in fact, in an amazing complex listed in UNESCO World Heritage, consisting of temples, pillars, altars, statues and bas-reliefs.
Most Nile cruises last about 4 nights. There are a variety of trucks that you can choose from classic ships (suitable for those looking for originality) to modern luxury vases (geared for those who consider comfort to them a priority). At the same time, the food on board is usually excellent, including traditional Egyptian dishes and international dishes.
Most Nile Cruises last about 4 nights. There is a variety of ships from which you can choose – ranging from classical ships (suitable for those looking for authenticity) to modern luxury ones (oriented to those for whom comfort is a priority). At the same time, on-board food is usually excellent, including both traditional Egyptian dishes and international dishes.
A cruise on the Nile may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a vacation in Egypt, but you can be sure it will be an experience you’ll never forget!