May 2, 2012

The Nile Delta | Egyptian Facts

The Nile Delta

Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is one of the fascinating places in Egypt. In it, travelers encountered history and a way of life that had remained the same for its inhabitants for many centuries, despite the continuous changes in its geology. This chapter presents different travelers’ testimonies about the diverse villages they visited in the Delta, some of which still stand today, while others have disappeared. Like the continuous and alternating flows of sweet and salty water at this point where the Nile meets the sea, life in the Delta seems to have been lived as consecutive waves. Al-Muqaddasi and Naser-e Khosraw take a step back in history and describe the prosperous city of Tinnis as it once stood. The histories and geography of Rosetta and Damietta are narrated by such diverse witnesses as John Fuller and al-Muqaddasi. Charles Meryon gives a European’s account of what nineteenth century travelers encountered there, while Edward Lane writes of the boats and boatmen and Elbert Farman actually goes on board, sailing across Lake Manzala. Meanwhile, A.C. Smith speculates on bird life and Herodotus complains of insects.

The Delta, c. 960
Ebn Haukal
The sea which borders Egypt is bitter, but where the river Nile pours into it, and overcomes it, the waters of the sea are rendered sweet. Farther out, when the waters of the Nile are confounded with the sea, the bitterness again predominates. In the sea there are islands, to which one may pass over in boats or vessels. Of these islands are Teneis (or Teines) and Damiat. In each of these agriculture is practised and cattle are kept.... The waters of this sea are not very considerable, and vessels move on it by help of men. It produces a certain fish, which is called delfin (dolphin), and this is a fish which if any person eat, he will be troubled with horrible dreams.

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