The traveller in Egypt is faced with a bewildering variety of historical treasures and scenes of immense natural beauty - from the sweeping contoured dunes of the Saharan sands in the Western desert to the fortified oasis settlements of Fayoum, Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga, last bastion of the Romans, later repelled by Arab invaders riding out from the desert. Egypt's geography and history are defined by the Nile river, whose slender lush banks frame the forbidding desert, from Aswan in Upper Egypt to Cairo, before the river fans out into the delta, and the Mediterranean. The Red Sea and Sinai mark the eastern flank, with its own distinctive mountainous character. The menu of civilisations leaving their trace is rich with choice: nearly three thousand years of pharoanic rule, then Alexander and the Romans, the Arab conquest, Ottoman Turkish rule, British rule and modern Egypt. The photographs in this book are the result of a slight scratching of the surface of this historic land.