of Cairo. BARRAGE DU NIL. 4. Route. 393
lock-gates necessary for closing the bridges and the greater part of
the canals for carrying off the water are still wanting.
Fortifications of considerable strength were constructed here by
Sa'id Pasha for the purpose of arresting the progress of any invad¬
ing army, and storing munitions of war. The place was therefore
called Kal'at Sa'ldlyeh (Sa'id's Castle), but is now known as 'Ka-
The object of the Barrage was to keep the water of the Nile at
the same level in all seasons, so that the necessity for irrigation
machinery throughout the district below it would have been entirely
superseded, while those fields to the S. of it which are on a level
with the reservoir would also have benefited. The Barrage was also
intended to remove the difficulties of navigation below this point
during the three months when the Nile is at its lowest. During
that period the water is too shallow for large vessels, and even
small vessels are often impeded by shoals and shifting sandbanks;
and it was therefore proposed that the whole of the communication
by water should then be kept up by means of large canals.
Of the original projects of Linant-Iiey and Mougel-Bey, which
were the same in principle, but differed in the mode of execution,
the latter was selected. Linant proposed that the bridges should
be erected on the land, a little more to the N., and in a position
less exposed than the apex of the Delta, and that the Nile should
afterwards be conducted through them; but his plan was rejected
owing to the difficulty of constructing the large embankments re¬
quired for its execution, and that of Mougel-Bey, as indicated in
the sketch of the environs of Cairo, was preferred.
It is now generally admitted that Linant's scheme was the pre¬
ferable, as the foundations of the bridges are already seriously sap¬
ped, and admit the passage of the water at several different points.
A French contractor, who has recently examined the works, esti¬
mates the cost of repairing them at 50 million francs, a sum which
would suffice for the construction of a new movable barrier.
In its present condition the Barrage is nothing but an impedi¬
ment to the navigation, as vessels often take several hours to effect
the passage of the locks, which is sometimes even attended with
danger, and have to pay heavy dues. As the openings of the Ro¬
setta branch of the river only are provided with lock-gates, the
greater part of the water flows through the Damietta branch, for
which no barrier has yet been constructed. It is, moreover, doubted
whether the present works would bear the great additional pressure
which would be caused by the completion of the system, so that
these costly structures will probably never answer the purpose for
which they were intended; but they are said still to be important
from a military point of view as works of a defensive character.