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The saying in Egypt goes, that whomever took a sip of the Nile, will return to Egypt. Taking a sip of the Nile is a disputable action, unless you are suicidal or want to inflict bilharziosis or a serious food poisoning upon yourself. But seeing the Nile might bring you back, as it is really beautiful. The Nile is Egypt's lif line and without it, the country would be nothing but desert.
The major part of life takes place in the strips of land bordering the Nile, in the Nile's delta or in places like the Fayoum oasis, where the Nile water is carried through canals. Only the cities on the Suez Canal and the Red Sea coast, like Suez, Port Said, Ismailia, and the beach resort Hurghada live independent from the river. The sheer existence of the Nile in Egypt has probably given rise to its famous ancient civilization and remains the source of life until today.
The Nile, with its 4,000 miles of length, is the longest river in the world, even though the Amazon is very close in size, and some even say it is longer. The longest part is formed by the White Nile, the broadest and therefore most water contributing part by the Blue Nile. Both Niles originate in countries to the South of Egypt; they merge near Khartoum.

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In the old days, the river would be varying in size according to the season, but since the Aswan dam was erected, that process has stopped. Unfortunately, that means that the fertile soil, which was deposited during flooding, stays behind in the Lake Nasser or is taken out by the Nile into the Mediterranean. The Nile was of utmost importance to the Egyptians as long as our history books can remember. In the days of the Pharaohs, the god Hapi, a god with a baboon head and one of the four sons of Horus, was thought to rule the Nile water. Looking at the complaints about the shape of the river nowadays, he did a better job than 20th century politicians.The Nile also gives rise to the division of Egypt into Upper Egypt (upstream) and Lower Egypt (downstream). And not only is Upper Egypt upstream, it is also higher, as the gradient slowly drops from South to North. For foreigners, this creates sometimes confusion, as Upper Egypt is easily seen as Northern, while it is actually the part of Egypt south of Cairo.

The Nile bridges are an impressive sight, too. Not only are they very different, some date back from a long time and also, on the bridge you see a mixture of transport means. There are many pedestrians, some cyclists, very old taxis, extremely posh cars, but also horse carts and an occasional donkey. From time to time, a police office tries to curb the chaos. The police cars are often parked on the pavement,

One tiny piece of advice: don't use the Nile water for your Egyptian cooking. Even though it might add authenticity, you may not live to spread the word. And while in Egypt, as the source of most tap water is formed by the Nile as well, it might be a wise choice to use bottled water.