The River Nile is an enormous river that runs through eastern Africa. It is fed by two rivers called the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which rise from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria in Kenya. These meet at Khartoum in Sudan to become the River Nile, which then extends through Sudan and all of Egypt until it forks into a delta with numerous channels which pour out into the Mediterranean Sea. It stretches over 6,600 kilometres and is the longest river in the world.
It is central to Egypt today and was crucial to the Ancient Egyptian civilisation. The banks of the huge river and its delta in the north of the country are the only places (other than the north and east coasts of Egypt) which were inhabitable in ancient times, as the river provided water and farmland. As a result, the Egyptians built their main cities and pyramids along the course of the river at places such as Luxor, Memphis and Cairo. Later, when the Ancient Greeks conquered Egypt, they built their own capital of Alexandria at the mouth of the river in the far north of the country.
The Ancient Egyptians were hugely reliant on the river for their food; the Nile floods yearly, and this flood deposits rich soil on the shores of the river, on which crops can then be grown.
To ensure that the flooding would be good, the Ancient Egyptians made offerings to the god Osiris, who was believed to be the overseer of the River Nile.