May 7, 2012

Looking down across the Fayoum, 1836 | Walking Through Egypt

Looking down across the Fayoum, 1836 
Charles Rochfort Scott

Fayoum
A narrow gorge at its eastern extremity connects the Fayoum with the valley of t e Nile, but, on every other side, it is bounded by arid sandy mountains. The bottom of this singular basin is nearly flat, and in great part covered with plantations of olive, fig, and other fruit trees; these present a remarkable contrast to the other cultivated plains of Egypt, on which, save the melancholy palms that shelter the villages scattered over them, there is not a tree to break the wavy horizon of com and cotton.

The surface of the Fayoum is not, however, less richly carpeted from being thus screened and overshadowed. Vines, rose bushes, and indigo, grow luxuriantly beneath the shade of the olive groves; whilst flax, cotton, and the sugar-cane, thrive well in the more open grounds; but for the last named the climate of Upper Egypt is better suited. The rose water of Fayoum is much and deservedly esteemed.

This province owes its great productiveness its existence perhaps to the Birket Keroun, or Lake Moeris, which, receiving the flood of the Nile, by means of a branch canal from the Bahr Yousef, retains a sufficient quantity of water to irrigate the circumjacent country for a considerable time after the inundation of the river has subsided.

A second pyramid stands (where the valley of the Fayoum may be said to commence) about five miles to the east at Illaoum. The gorge, which serves as the link, connecting the cultivation of the Fayoum with that of the valley of the Nile, is about four miles wide.

The area of the Fayoum, according to the best modem geographers, is but six hundred square miles, of which Lake Moeris covers about one hundred and eighty. According to Herodotus, the lake alone was in his time three thousand six hundred stadia (nearly four hundred and fifty miles) in circumference, and two hundred cubits deep!

This immense lake he states to have been entirely a work of human labour, and he naturally became very curious to learn what had been done with the earth that had been excavated in its formation, which he at length satisfied himself had been thrown into the Nile.

Let not those, therefore, who pinning their faith to the Greek geographer believe that the Delta is a gift of the Nile, wonder what country furnished the soil to fill up the huge gulph. Herodotus’s Lake Moeris solves the mystery, for it alone would have supplied sufficient earth to cover the whole Delta with a much thicker layer than is to be found elsewhere.

Buckingham, a well-read merchant naval captain, wrote in his journal of his visit to the Fayoum and four decades later offered this beautiful description to the world in his autobiography.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, If you found any copyright content in Ancient Egypt blog please don't hesitant to send an email : ancientegyptblog@gmail.com and will delete within 24 Hours

ShareThis

Follow us

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...