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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 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.It is an article of faith in contemporary Egypt that agriculture and settled life should spread beyond the confines of the Nile Valley.Major efforts have been made to "reclaim" land on the fringes of the Nile Valley, particularly east and west of the Delta.The Nile rises far to the south of Egypt, in Ethiopia and in the drainage basin of Lake Victoria.It reaches Egypt in Lake Nasser, behind the Aswān High Dam.The urban minorities were much larger before the middle of the twentieth century. Egypt has an area of 385,229 square miles (1,001,000 square kilometers).The country is separated from its neighbors by either ocean or sparsely populated desert.
The highest point is Mount Catherine in the Sinai, at 8,743 feet (2,665 meters). Rainfall is not adequate to sustain agriculture or a settled population, and water instead comes from the Nile.
There are a few small linguistic minorities, of which the largest is the Nubians, who speak two Nubian languages (Kenuz and Mahas) related to the Nilo-Saharan languages of the Sudan.