Cataracts of the Nile

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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.

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, while farther upstream, the land was controlled by the ancient Kush civilization, that would later take over Egypt.

Other websites[change | change source]

  • The Cataract Nile and the Great Bend (webpage) [1]
  • The 1905-1907 Breasted Expeditions to Egypt and the Sudan: A Photographic Study [2] (See photos listed in the index under "Nile, Third Cataract" and "Nile, Fourth Cataract")
Photo links