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Aswan: The High Dam

From ancient times to as recently as the mid-20th century, the source of Egypt's weath was also a problem. Every year, as the snows melted on the Ethiopian mountains, the Nile would flood, bringing much needed fertile soil and of course water itself. Unfortunately, the flood was not predictable. There have been several attempts at controlling the flow,

Aswan High Dam, looking down river (north)
You can see very little of the workings of the Aswan High Dam from the top

but the only sucessful one was the Aswan High Dam, built with soviet money and expertise in the 1960s.

A visit to the Dam is interesting, but much of its scale cannot be seen because of very high security. Tourists are permitted only on part of the top of the Dam, and video cameras (but not still cameras) are prohibited. There is a huge hydro-electric generating plant that can supply all of Egypt's needs, but this is not visible to the visitor..

On the low side of the dam is the rocky Nile cataract, and on the high side is Lake Nasser, a gigantic lake 300km (180 miles) long stretching towards Sudan.


Lake Nasser, looking south from the Aswan Dam
This is the view to the South; Lake Nasser stretching into the distance

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