When Sadd Al-Kafara dam was discovered in 1885 by the German archaeologist G. Schweinfurth its central part was missing. That turned out to be a mixed blessing for today’s archaeologists because although the structure is incomplete, the exposed cross sections of the remaining parts of the dam render the study of its construction possible.
What remains of the sides of the dam is in excellent condition, to the extent that local people living in villages near the dam were not confused that this is a dam that was built in the distant past to hold water.
Overall, the dam isn’t known except by archaeologists despite its importance and the fact that it is the oldest large scale dam in the world, still standing today. The site in the Garawi valley deserves to be protected and appropriately rehabilitated to be included in “the nature reserves” of Egypt so to serve as a global touristic destination that is not less than the Pyramids of Giza and the temples of Luxor and Karnak.
In our hands lie treasures with great value that we are not aware of. If we exploit it in a better way, its uses will spread among the whole society … What’s required is proper planning and useful work… Is there a listener?
What does the modern visitor see?
The dam was originally 113m long and 14m high. Today there exist only the remains of construction on both sides of the wadi. The northern wall extends about 24m into the wadi, and the southern one is about 27m long. Between the two preserved walls is a breach, circa 50-60m wide, which has been formed by the numerous floods of the past 4,500 years…