From ancient times to the present century, Egyptian agriculture depended on the annual flooding of the Nile. Crop yields were predicted and taxes were set according to the river’s level in August, as measured by a series of Nilometers from Aswan down the valley to Roda and the Delta. Readings were sent to Egypt’s ruler and provincial governors; the basin-system of irrigation dictated that dikes must be breached at certain levels, making the Nile’s rise essential to the whole nation. A reading of 16 ells (8.6m) foretold the valley’s complete irrigation; significantly more or less meant widespread flooding or drought. Public rejoicing followed the announcement of the Wafa al-Nil (“Abundance of the Nile”), while any other verdict caused gloom and foreboding.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Egypt features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 amazing African journeys

7 amazing African journeys

Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …

06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
12 captivating pictures of Egypt

12 captivating pictures of Egypt

Rough Guides author and photographer Anthon Jackson has travelled to over eighty countries, from Morocco to Indonesia and Ethiopia to India, capturing many of h…

16 Mar 2015 • Anthon Jackson insert_drive_file Article
Video: things not to miss in Egypt

Video: things not to miss in Egypt

The oldest tourist destination on Earth, Egypt has a multitude of things to see and do. There are ancient pyramids, crumbling temples and vast deserts to explor…

13 Jan 2015 • Site Editor videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month