Delta of the Nile

Article

July 1, 2022

' The Nile Delta (Arabic: دلتا النيل Delta an-Nīl or simply الدلتا ad-Delta) is the delta formed in Lower Egypt, where the Nile River extends and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas: stretching from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers 240 kilometers (150 miles) of Mediterranean coastline and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south, the delta is approximately 160 kilometers (99 miles) in length. The Delta begins slightly downstream from Cairo.[1]

Geography

From north to south, the delta is approximately 160 kilometers (99 miles) in length. From west to east, it covers about 240 kilometers (150 miles) of coastline. The delta is sometimes divided into sections, with the Nile divided into two main tributaries, Damietta and Rosetta,[2] which empty into the Mediterranean at port cities of the same name. In the past, the delta had several distributors, but these were lost due to flood control, siltation, and relief shifting. One of those defunct distributors is Wadi Tumilat. The Suez Canal is to the east of the delta and enters the shoreline of Lake Manzala in the northeast of the delta. To the northwest are three other lakes or coastal lagoons: Lake Burullus, Lake Idku and Lake Mariout. The Nile is considered to be a 'bowed' delta - in the shape of an arch - as it resembles a triangle or a flower when viewed from above. Some scholars such as Aristotle have written that the delta was built for agricultural purposes due to the drying out of the region of Egypt. Although such an engineering feat would be considered equivalent to a wonder of the ancient world, there is insufficient evidence to conclusively determine whether the delta is man-made or formed naturally.[3] Today, the outer edges of the delta are eroding, and some coastal lagoons have seen salinity levels rise as their connection to the Mediterranean Sea increases. Since the delta no longer receives an annual supply of nutrients and sediment upstream due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the soils in the floodplains have become poorer, and large amounts of fertilizer are now used. The topsoil in the delta can be up to 21 m (70 ft) deep.

History

People have lived in the Nile Delta region for thousands of years, and it has been intensively farmed for at least the last five thousand years. The delta was one of the main components of Lower Egypt, and there are many archaeological sites in and around the delta.[4] Artifacts belonging to ancient sites have been found on the coast of the delta. The Rosetta Stone was found in the delta in 1799 in the port city of Rosetta (an Anglicized version of the name Rashid). In July 2019, a small Greek temple, ancient granite columns, ships carrying treasures, and bronze coins from the reign of Ptolemy II, dating to the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, were found. In the sunken city of Heracleion, colloquially known as the "Atlantis of Egypt", investigations were carried out by Egyptian and European divers led by underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio. They also discovered a devastated historic temple (the city's main temple) underwater on the northern coast of Egypt.[5][6][7][8][9][10]​

Ancient branches of the Nile

Ancient records (such as by Pliny the Elder) show that the delta had seven distributors or branches (from east to west):[2] the fluff the tannic the mendesian the Phatnitic (or Phatmetic),[11] the sebennitic bolbitin and Canopic (also called Herakleotic[12]​ and Agathodaemon[13]​) There are now only two main branches, due to control of in