This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Around the world. Most beautiful places. Egypt.

Ancient Egypt occupies a place of exceptional importance in universal history. Its historical evolution, both in terms of crystallizing and consolidating a society that is increasingly differentiated from the social, economic and political point of view, as well as from its splendid civilization, can be traced back to the numerous archaeological, epigraphic and literary documents.

 

Natural frame. The ancient Egyptians laid the foundation for the world. From this cosmogonic conviction derives the idea of ​​Egypt’s genesis from the primordial aquatic chaos. The belief that the land of Egypt was born of water was also maintained by a geographical reality, the Nile with its annual overflows. Starting from the equatorial area of ​​Africa, the waters of the river pass to Mediteranean Sea, in all 6,690 km. The Upper and Middle Valley of the Nile is generally reduced to a narrow aisle lined by the naval waters in Pleistocene rocks. Downstream of the first cataract (Assuan), this corridor widens, varying between 25-50 km, and in the vicinity of Cairo today it turns into a wide plain. Its triangular appearance, based on the shores of the Mediterranean, made the ancient Greeks call it the Delta, resembling a letter in their alphabet. The space between the first cataracts and the current Cairo area forms Upper Egypt, and the Nile Delta with its arms, down to the Mediterranean coast, Lower Egypt.

 

As a result of torrential rains and snow melting in the Abisinian Mountains, the river level continued to rise after 19 July, then to retreat in September. This natural phenomenon has been essential to the prosperity of Egyptian agriculture for millennia because the flooded waters of the river wore organic and mineral substances that fertilized the earth. For this reason, Herodotus states that Egypt is a gift of the Nile.

 

The fertile soil of the Nile Valley was bordered to the east and west by the arid wilderness. With all the dry climate, a rich and rich flora grew on this alluvial land, with aquatic plants (lotus and papyrus). Early acclimatised cereals (especially wheat). Frequents were the foliage and palm trees. Egypt also had some wooded or herbaceous areas. The floral regime favors the existence of a diverse fauna (birds of the reed, mamifee – pigs, sheep, horns, small domestic animals, then water reptiles – crocodiles or dry – snakes, lizards etc.).

 

The richness of the soil was completed with that of the basement. The high hills of the Nile Lane in Upper Egypt offered abundantly various varieties of stone (silex, sandstone, granite, basalt, limestone, diorite, etc.). The Sinai Peninsula supplied minerals, Nubia gold, and Lebanon cedar wood. The favorable natural conditions of the area explain the agrarian, craftsmanship, commercial and builders of the ancient Egyptians.

 

The first testimonies of human existence are known in Egypt since Paleolithic. The Neolithic Revolution has marked profound changes. The importance was the sedentarisation of human communities in the valley of the Nile (millennium V i. C.) And then the emergence of stable settlements, the lifting of the constructions that involved them. There are buildings and sanctuaries of unclean clay; tools appear and diversify; apron products (amulets, beads) and decorative products (bracelets, bone and ivory hair pins) appear; ceramics are made characterized by the typological variety and the elegance of the forms.

 

At the foundation of the unity and originality of Egyptian civilization, the Nile contributed greatly, providing the connections between the settlements. The relative isolation of this space from the rest of the ancient world through the desert areas from the east and from the west through the southern jungle and the northern Mediterranean. However, there is early evidence of the use of land routes between the Nile Valley and Palestine, over the Sinai Peninsula, for the transport of material goods.

 

***All photos are mine. Published also on Steemit

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