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muhafazah (governorate) in Upper Egypt, south of Asyut and north of Qina governorates. It is a ribbonlike stretch of the fertile Nile River valley about 60 miles (100 km) long. Through it the Nile flows in a roughly 13-mile- (21-km-) wide flat-bottomed valley hemmed in by limestone cliffs rising to nearly 1,000 feet (305 m). Throughout the area the Nile has cut a channel close to the eastern side of the valley; nearly all of the arable land lies west of the river. Sawhaj governorate's habitable area is one of the most densely populated in Egypt.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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