Looking like a brilliant, long-stemmed lotus, the Nile fans out into the delta before flowing into the Mediterranean.
The crew on board the International Space Station were clearly captivated by the Nile at night. This stunning image was taken just a few days ago, as the Space Station soared across the night sky on September 16.
To the Egyptians, the lotus (or blue water lily), symbolised creation and rebirth. They saw how its petals closed at night and sank beneath the water, only to reappear and open up to the sun the next morning.
(We now know the plant simply loses old blooms and adds new ones on a daily cycle, but even so, it is still a potent reminder of resurrection).
Just like anyone, the Egyptians liked a good party, and lotus wine was a favourite for banquets and festivals. Lotus flower heads were dropped into wine to infuse it with a special fragrance, with guests, in turn, infusing themselves as they enjoyed their lotus wine into the night.
The lotus wasn't just popular at parties, but also at funerals, with the flower being a fragrant symbol of new life.
In Hermopolis in Middle Egypt, the story of creation told of a giant lotus flower being the first living form to emerge from the primaeval waters of Nun. The petals opened to reveal the sun-god, Ra, whose light and warmth brought about the world, and the gods that ruled over it.
It's quite fitting then that this flower continues to bloom brilliantly out into the cosmos.
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