The Aswan area – Aswan dams

Aswan is a starting point for many excursions. Some tourists try to fit the main attractions into two full-day itineraries: one south to Abu Simbel, and the other north to Kom Ombo, Edfu i Esna. It is better to reach closer objects or take a taxi, or by taxi and boat. It's better to give up the train right away, because you have to hire a taxi anyway.
The most popular is a half-day trip to the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae.
During your stay in Aswan, you can visit the temples north of the city (Kom Ombo, Edfu, Esna), using a taxi, bus, felucki or a cruise ship.

Aswan dams

The Aswan dam is another of the nearby attractions. However, it should be remembered, that shooting (especially the High Dam) it is possible only from designated places and under the watchful eye of armed guards.


For millennia, since the Nile went north, periodic floods flooded the valley. Annual, the systematic flooding of the river was associated with rainfall in the Great Lakes in Equatorial Africa, snow melting in the Moon Mountains and precipitation in the mountains of Ethiopia. From February, the White Nile and its tributaries were taken, and in March, the snow was starting to melt in the mountains of Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile was born. The rivers that had risen joined up near Khartoum, and the flood wave was moving northward. After defeating successive cataracts, the flood reached southern Egypt. Strokes happened regularly, and the ancients noticed, that the time of the flood is coming, when the sky appears floating under the horizon by 70 days star Sirius (ok. 15 July). It depended on the intensity of the flood, whether enough arable land can be irrigated in a given year. The waters did not cover all the valleys and the Nile Delta. The area affected by the outflow did not exceed 33 thousand. km2, half of which was on Delta.
Ancient Egyptian authorities, so heavily dependent economically on the outflow of the river, they watched the Nile closely and carefully measured the water level in the riverbed. The Egyptians had no influence on the amount of the flood wave. They could only carefully manage each liter of water, that the river gave. It involved arduous and arduous work in digging irrigation canals and taking care of them. The fields and gardens higher than the flooding, the water was supplied using cranes.
In the Ptolemaic period, it was poured using wheels with attached vessels. The first mentions of the use of this technique come from the 2nd century. p.n.e. The life-giving mud flowed along with the water and covered the flooded farmlands with a thick layer. It was a natural fertilizer that prevented soil depletion, and in some areas it has created a 10-meter layer of fertile land. Bricks were made of mud, used in the construction of not only ordinary houses, and even royal palaces. The Nile became a driving force for Egypt and a driving force for the development of civilization. Therefore, the Greek writer and historian Herodotus (V w. p.n.e.) he wrote, that Egypt is a gift of the Nile. Mastering the positive effects of floods and using them for economic development was a great achievement of the country of the pyramids. The only drawback was the dependence on the changing climate and the inability to influence natural phenomena.

Stara Tama

The British erected the dam. The first works began in 1898 r. The dam was to make the Egyptian economy independent from unpredictable fluctuations in the water level in the Nile. Works finished in 1902 r. The dam did 54 m in height, 30 m wide at the base and 11 m wide at the top, and its length was 1900 m. It is equipped with 180 mucus, which could be used to discharge water towards the lower reaches of the river. During the floods, the water flowed almost freely, because the natural stroke cycle was maintained, only limiting their range. The downside was the periodic flooding of the ancient temple of Isis on the island of Philae.
The dam allowed for a significant increase in the acreage of crops, and the power plant built on the dam provided a lot of energy. However, the technology from the end of the 19th century. she grew old quickly. The dam was too low, to prevent great floods, therefore it was increased twice (1907-1912 i 1929-1933). Another modernization turned out to be unprofitable, so it was decided to erect a new dam.

High Dam

Prison ta (As-Sadd al-Ali, Sadd al-Aali) it is too far from Aswan (13 km), to get there on foot. Foreigners have limited access, because it is an object of strategic importance. A road leads through the High Dam, which can be traveled between 7.00 a 17.00. On the northern side of the dam you can see a part of the reservoir between the dams, firewall devices, on the left edge – in the distance - a few skyscrapers of the University of Africa, and far beyond the islands you can barely make out the old dam. On the eastern side of the dam is located (not always open) pavilion with a model, models and maps, presenting the history of the construction of As-Sadd al-Ali.
Building a dam is not only about appropriate technology, but most of all a lot of money.
In the early years 50. XX w, after another great flood in 1946 r., it was already known, that the old dam would not guarantee protection from hunger, the terror of every country in Africa. President of Egypt (w 1952 r., just before the Free Officers' rebellion) he was in talks with the United States, and at the same time, through Czechoslovakia, secret negotiations were carried out with representatives of Maoist China. W 1956 r. Egypt was headed by radical president Gamal Abdel Nasser and decided to ask for money from the World Bank. Influenced by the USA, the World Bank did not grant a loan for the construction. Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, to finance the work from fees. This caused the so-called. Suez crisis. Then the Soviet Union entered the game. He offered Egypt sufficient credit and, in addition, technical assistance for the construction of the dam. W 1960 r. work began with great pomp in the presence of First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. Works had been going on 10 years. As a result, it was almost four kilometers long (3830 m) a barrier that separates the river. So much stone was used, that it could be built 17 Great Pyramids of Giza. Installed on the eastern shore 12 giant turbines. The devices were put into use 15 January 1971 r., but works, Soviet custom, lasted until 1972 r. Tank, called Lake Nasser, fully reached its capacity in 1976 r.

Tama ma 111 m in height, and its width at the base is 975 m. A four-lane expressway runs along the top of the 40-meter-long embankment. It flows through the dam 11 thousand. m3 of water per second. An artificial reservoir was created in front of the dam, called Lake Nasser, the third largest artificial lake in the world. It is connected by an artificial channel with Toszek's depression. The positive effects of building the High Dam became apparent almost immediately. During drought shelters 1972-1973 i 1983-1984, Had it not been for the water from Lake Nasser in Egypt, there would have been a terrible famine. The generated electricity supplies power not only to households, but mainly fertilizer factories, iron and steel works, cement plants. It allows the development of infrastructure