Egyptian landscape offers a lot of contrasts. The fertile
strip of land on both sides of the Nile between Aswan
and Cairo and the Nile Delta between Cairo and the Mediterranean
Sea, have allowed for extensive agriculture for millennia.
Until the end of the Old Kingdom, around 2000 BC, the
yearly inundation of the Nile was sufficient to keep this
narrow strip and the delta fertile. After the Old Kingdom
an extensive irrigation system was set up to make even
more of the land next to the Nile fertile. The fertile
land of Egypt only makes up a small percentage of its
total surface and is flanked by the desert. Mountains
rise up to the east and west in the desert.