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Before the construction of dams and barrages, floodwaters would spill out of the river's banks and, channeled by sluices and dikes, cover most of the agricultural land.
Egyptians then practiced a form of recession agriculture, planting winter crops in the mud left behind by the receding river.
After the dam, the Nile continues to flow north in a single channel paralleled by irrigation canals until it reaches Cairo, 550 miles (860 kilometers) away. The Nile breaks into two main channels, the western Rosetta branch and the eastern Damietta branch, for the final 120 miles (200 kilometers) before the water reaches the Mediterranean.The country is separated from its neighbors by either ocean or sparsely populated desert.To the north is the Mediterranean Sea, and to the east the Red Sea.Egypt is separated from Libya and North Africa by the western desert, from Palestine and Israel by the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and from the centers of population in the Sudan by desert except along the narrow Nile River.Among the major geographical features of Egypt are the Nile River and the Suez Canal, which joins the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and also separates Egypt proper from Sinai.
The two main regions of Egypt are thus the Valley, or Sa'id, in the south, and the Delta in the north, separated by Cairo at the apex of the Delta.