Dam Aswan

Dam Aswan, Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt and is therefore also often called “Gateway to Africa”. The city lies below the first cataract on the eastern bank of the Nile. Egypt practically ends here, Nubia begins.

Because of its dry climate, Aswan was already regarded as a health resort in the previous century. Sand baths against all types of joint diseases in particular were a popular form of therapy. However, aside from the classical sightseeing places there, one of the “landmarks” of the area is for sure the Aswan Dam.

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Because of the yearly occurring flooding it was almost impossible for farmers to manage the Nile efficiently, thus the construction of a dam would ensure regular harvesting in the future. The population wouldn’t have to face longer periods of drought or floods, while electricity would also be generated.

The old dam, which had been in operation since 1902 and was once considered the largest building in the world, turned out to be too small over the time. Here also the goal was to compensate for the low-water phases in such a way that irrigation of the canals and thus cultivation of the fields would be possible all year round. Agricultural engineer Adrian Daninos submitted to the Egyptian government the idea of a larger dam replacing also the previous one. After the downfall of King Faruq, Muhammad Nagib and Gamal Abdel Nasser liked the idea and decided to implement it. In their view, this was an important advantage: Egypt alone could control this dam.

Because the USA withdrew its originally promised aid in financing the dam due to political differences, the then Soviet Union stepped in. In addition to financing the project, Soviet engineers and construction equipment were sent to Egypt. With Arab Contractors, an Egyptian company was also involved in the construction. In 1960, the construction of the Aswan high dam started with a blasting. After the completion of the first construction phase four years later, Nile water was introduced into the reservoir for the first time. The dam was finally completed in 1970, and Anwar el-Sadat opened it in 1971. It took around six years to fill the reservoir.

Dam Aswan:

The dam consists of a ballast fill with a clay core and a concrete casing. The massive structure is more than 3.8 kilometers long, almost 1 kilometer wide and 111 meters high. At the time of installation, a built-in hydropower plant produced almost half of the electricity needs of Egyptian households; today it is still around 10%. 451 workers lost their lives in the 2.2 billion euro project.

However, the construction of the Nasser dam had consequences for the numerous monuments that were nearby. Even an entire town had to be replaced and its residents were relocated. The remains of a village can still be found on the bottom of Lake Nasser today. In view of the rising floods, dozens of threatened monuments had to be saved by UNESCO in a complex relocation processes. These included the famous Philae Temple and Abu Simbel. The Philae Island was flooded completely as a result of the dam construction,

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Dam Aswan Egypt practically ends here, Nubia begins.
Dam Aswan Egypt practically ends here, Nubia begins.

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