Cataracts of the Nile

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The six cataracts of the Nile
The First Cararact when it was not all underwater

The cataracts of the Nile are shallow stretches between Aswan and Khartoum where the water's surface is broken by numerous small boulders and stones that lie on the river bed, as well as many small rocky islets. This is called "white water".

River cararacts often go with a rapid down-drop of the river, but this is not a main feature in the Nile.

The six first cataracts of the River Nile were the main obstacles for boats sailing on the Nile in antiquity. Counted upstream (from north to south), the First Cataract is in modern Egypt; the rest are in Sudan.

The word cataract comes from the Greek word kataraktes meaning "waterfall".

In ancient times, Upper Egypt extended from the Nile Delta to the first cataract. Further upstream, in what is modern Sudan, the land was later controlled by the Kingdom of Kush.

The cataract faces north, not south, because the river flows north, which means the Nile Source starts from the Upper Egypt (which is located in south, and Lower Egypt is located in North)

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