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Travel to Egypt and Visit the High Dam in Aswan

By José Ramírez |

If the high dam in Aswan were destroyed, Egypt would disappear too!

When we think about traveling to Egypt, the first thing that comes to mind is taking pictures of the pyramids. However, DINKtravelers wants you to know there’s another attraction that is worth visiting but that is not usually in the spotlight: The Aswan Dam.

Aswan Dam’s Purpose

Floods in the surrounding areas of the Nile River favored agriculture and helped life develop in that territory until the Egyptian government realized it was important to be able to protect those same lands through the construction of the Aswan Dam in 1899. This happened because with every flood, the people would lose their crops and would find themselves deprived from food and with considerable economical losses. Also, since many of them had built their homes in those territories, their survival was also at risk.

Aswan Low Dam

It’s important to say that the Aswan Low Dam whose construction began in 1899 by order of the British, still exists. It was finished in 1902 and measures 54 m. (177 ft.) tall and 1,900 m. (6,233 ft) wide. Yet, it was not tall enough, so in 1912, and later in 1933, they increased its height until it reached 70 m. (229 ft.).

With the years, the water level rose, so in 1952 the government noticed that the Aswan Low Dam would not hold much longer. Therefore, with the help of the Soviet Union, they created the project of the Aswan High Dam.

The Great Aswan High Dam

The construction was a matter of great concern because due to its location, some nearby monuments had to be moved so they wouldn’t flood. For this reason, they developed a new technology that allowed them to transport those archaeological jewels to other sites. Interestingly, not all of them remained in the Egyptian territory. Actually, many were donated to the governments that financed the construction of the dam.

In 1970 they finished the Aswan High Dam with a length of 3,830 m. (12,565 ft.), 980 m. (3,215 ft.) of width and a height of 111 m. (364 ft.). Since then, water started accumulating creating the famous Lake Nasser with a capacity of 169,000 m3 (5,968 ft3) of water. Almost 17% of this lake is located in Sudan, so both nations have created an agreement for the distribution of water.

Fun Facts about the Aswan High Dam

It’s said that this structure is so important for Egypt that there are missiles guarding it and all flights over that territory have been forbidden. This is due to the fact that if the dam were destroyed, Egypt would too.

We advise you to take pictures from top of the dam. It’s amazing to stand on top of this great structure and see, on one side, the valley near the Nile River, and on the other, Lake Nasser.

Plan some time to visit the Nubia Museum where you’ll learn about the history of the people who used to inhabit the territory.