Ancient Egypt had many natural barriers. The mountains to the south helped to separate Egypt from the rest of Africa. There are deserts to the east and west of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians were not isolated from the rest of the ancient world. The ancient Egyptian civilization developed along the lower Nile River to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile opened access in and out of ancient Egypt. The Nile River and their natural barriers all helped to develop a culture uniquely Egyptian.
The Nile is the longest river in the world. It is shaped like a lotus flower, the design seen in ancient Egyptian art, math, and hieroglyphics. It runs south to north, beginning in the mountains in the south and ending 4,000 miles later at the Mediterranean Sea. Each spring, when snow on the mountains would melt, the Nile River would flood. This was a very good thing. When the flood waters receded, they left behind fertile soil. Crops could easily be grown in this black, rich soil. The ancient Egyptians called this soil the "The Gift of the Nile".
The Nile provided other gifts to the ancient Egyptians. Papyrus, used for everything, grew wildly along its banks. It provided water for cooking and bathing. Fish and waterfowl were plentiful. Wild vegetables could be found, along with bird eggs. Egypt is located in the middle of a desert. But life along the Nile was splendid.