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Wherever one may stand in the Egyptian Desert, there is always this overwhelming feeling that every movement leads to the Nile River. Coaches carrying barrels and laundry, caravans exhausted by the heat and fatigue, children half-asleep riding on elderly horses; everyone is heading towards the blue artery of water flowing through the burning sand.
The country’s backbone
Around the river live over 90 million people, a population that over centuries, increases or decreases, depending on the water's level. The fertile strip of land along the Niles’ banks does not exceed 20 kilometers in width, while in some occasions there is not even an inch of arable land.
The precious fertile soil, comes from Ethiopia and Uganda, from where the Blue and White Nile correspondingly stem from. The two rivers meet in Sudan, where they create the Magnificent Nile, which reaches Cairo. It is the Egyptian Capital, where the river splits into two branches, the Damietta and the Rosetta, which each follow a route of 240 kilometers until they reach the Mediterranean Sea.
Along the 6,700 kilometers of the Nile River, float countless feluccas, a means of survival for many Egyptians. A far cry from technological development, they have an extraordinary floatation ability, of which many modern boats would be jealous of.
The Nile is also sailed by touristic barges with passengers behaving vociferously and living luxuriously, in an overwhelming contrast to the economic difficulties and stoicism of the people living on its shores.
The mysteries of the Nile, however, do not hide in the photographs of tourists, but in the eternal relationship of the Egyptians with the river, something that cannot be felt from the deck of a cruise ship.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS