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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS018-E-6540 Date: Oct. 2008
Geographic Region: EGYPT

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  Cities of the Dead, Nile River Delta, Egypt

The ancient pharaohs (kings) and queens of Egypt established several royal cemeteries, along the Nile River valley. On the western riverbank, these necropoli (cities of the dead) were built on a gravelly desert plateau formed of limestone and clay overlooking the river. Several scarps (cliffs) are visible at image lower left. The most widely recognized features of royal Egyptian necropoli are pyramids, which frequently served as both tombs and monuments for their occupants. This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates a portion of the Nile Delta that includes two royal cemetery complexes, Abusir and Saqqara-North.

The present day village of Abusir is clearly visible as a grey-white irregular patch of urban surfaces that contrasts with green agricultural fields of the Nile Delta and tan desert sands and gravels to the west. The historic necropolis of Abusir is located to the northwest of the village at image top center. Three pyramids are readily visible in the image, all built by kings of the Fifth Dynasty (2,465-2,323 BC): Sahure, Niuserre, and Neferirkare. The site of Abusir was likely chosen due to the existence of a lake-now dry-that facilitated transport of building materials for the pyramids and other structures.

The northern portion of the large necropolis of Saqqara is also visible to the south-southwest (image right) of the village of Abusir. The largest pyramid in this complex is that of Djoser, a king of the Third Dynasty (2,650-2,575 BC). Other readily visible pyramids include that of Userkaf (Fifth Dynasty) and Teti (Sixth Dynasty: 2,323-2,150 BC), attesting to the long history of use of the Saqqara necropolis. Astronauts have also taken detailed imagery of other necropolis sites along the Nile River delta such as Giza and Dashur.
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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 225k
Mission: ISS018  
Roll - Frame: E - 6540
Geographical Name: EGYPT  
Center Lat x Lon: 29.9N x 31.2E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N2
Camera Tilt: 13   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 995  
Date: 20081031   YYYYMMDD
Time: 075630   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 30.5N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 31.6E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 148   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 189   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 39   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: DELTA, , RIVER  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views: PYRAMID  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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