Egypt / Geography /
Arabic: daltā 'an-nīl
Its area is about 25,000 km² with about 34 million inhabitants, meaning that about half of Egypt's population live here. These figures do not include Cairo's inhabitants. It is among the most densely populated agricultural areas in the world, with 1,360 inhabitants per km².
The coastline is about 400 km long, from Alexandria in the west to Port Said and the outlet of the Suez Canal in the east.
The main cities are Alexandria (4.0 million), Port Said (650,000), Mahalla al-Kubra (500,000), Tanta (450,000), Mansura (440,000) and Zagazig (340,000).
There are several brackish lagoons or lakes, of which Manzala and Burullus are the largest, Idku is the third largest lying between Alexandria and Rosetta.
Perennial irrigation allows two or three crops a year in the delta. About half of the area is used for agriculture. Industry is another important activity here.
A large part of the population is defined as fellahin, which is both indicating peasants, but also a culture group of little education and with very traditional world views, distinctly different from the urban Egyptian.
The delta has been formed through deposits through tens of thousands of years by the Nile, being originally shallow sea bed. Intensive farming has been going on in the delta for 5,000 to 6,000 years, making it the home of the newest civilized part of Ancient Egypt. Traditionally, the delta area was considered the heart land of Lower Egypt.
Originally, the delta had 7 equal tributaries; today two of them dominate, the Rosetta and the Damietta rivers. There are 3 other canals, as well, of which the al-Mu'izz canal which runs through Zagazig is the most important.
With the construction of the Aswan Dams in the 20th century CE, the delta no longer receives nutrients and sediments, and heavy fertilization is used instead.
In the Bible, the delta area is called "Land of Goshen."