The Aswan High Dam that was constructed in Egypt between 1960 and 1970 had a significant impact on Egypt and its people. Every year the Nile River would flood several parts of the country and cause unimaginable hardship for many of the country’s inhabitants. At other times, it wasn’t capable of meeting the country’s needs in terms of irrigation for the agricultural sector. This all changed once the dam was constructed. A visit to the dam is included in nearly all of our Egypt tour packages that feature some time in Aswan. Nearly all of our Nile River cruises also include a visit to the Aswan High Dam.
Aswan High Dam – Problems Solved, But at a Price
The Nile River is a mighty river, and in fact, it the longest river in the world. Being able to control it meant that farmers along it shores would no longer have their entire crops destroyed. It also meant that farmers would be able to irrigate their farms whenever needed. Added to that is the fact that by controlling the river, a vast amount of hydroelectric power can be generated by the flowing water. Interestingly, the 12 specially designed generators of the Aswan High Dam provide Egypt with roughly 2.1 gigawatts of electricity each.
The Egyptians weren’t the first ones to entertain the idea of a substantial dam either. To the contrary, the British were already planning such as dam as far back as 1889. The greatest concern of all was the fact that a mega dam such as the Aswan High Dam would create a giant lake, and such a lake would mean that several treasured ancient sites would inevitably be lost.
When construction of the Aswan High Dam got underway, the Egyptian government, along with several other governments made an unprecedented effort to save as many ancient attractions as possible. Naturally, they weren’t able to save everything, but many of the best attractions in Aswan that you can see today were spared as a result of their efforts, with the infamous Philae Temple and the striking Abu Simbel Temples being just two examples. Unfortunately, a number of sites had to be sacrificed.
Lake Nasser As It Is Today
Once the Aswan High Dam was completed, the world witnessed the formation of what was to become one of the largest man-made lakes in the history of the world. The dam stretches nearly 4km in length, while the dam wall itself measures 980 meters wide at the base, and 111 meters tall. Every second, roughly 11,000 cubic meters of water pass through the Aswan High Dam.
Lake Nasser As A Tourist Attraction
Today Lake Nasser is a major tourist attraction, not only among foreign tourists, but also among Egyptians from other parts of the country. Fishing for example has become incredibly popular, both from the shores and from the many boats that offer fishing trips on the lake. It’s likewise become very popular as a destination for laid back Lake Nasser cruises, particularly with those tourists who have already booked a Nile cruise.
If you’ve booked or intend booking one of our world class Nile cruises from Aswan to Luxor or one of our Nile cruises from Luxor to Aswan, a Lake Nasser cruise is the perfect addition to what will already be one of the most memorable times of your life. As with our river cruises, our Lake Nasser cruises also include a lot of sightseeing opportunities, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Aswan High Dam has brought with it, some great benefits both to foreigners and locals alike.