The largest desert on Earth stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea on the African continent. Countries which lie within the Sahara Desert are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan. The Nile River and the Niger River cross through it.

Scientists believe that 4,000 years ago the Sahara region had a much wetter climate with a savanna environment. The tilting of the Earth's axis caused an abrupt change in climate and vegetation (such as more sunlight and an amplified monsoon season) causing the desertification of the Sahara region.

A song by eddie from ohio, off their 1993 album actually not, Sahara is about Chris McCandless and how reality never quite matches a dream. Chris McCandless' life was documented in John Krakauer's nonfiction book Into the Wild, which describes Chris' departure from home and attempt to rough it in the Alaskan wilderness. He figured he'd be self-sufficient, but he starved to death. The tragedy of someone so young and so idealistic dying--and in such a slow, agonizing way, realizing he was starving to death, and unable to leave--works its way into the sad harmonies in the chorus and the wistful, far-off echo of the higher guitar strings.

Chris was no philosopher,
he was an ordinary man,
24 and running out of room,
A rifle and a pack
and a sack of rice on his back.
Guided by Tolstoy and the moon,
into the Yukon he would go,
in search of a higher truth.
Christopher would make a break with this world,
but he never escaped his youth.

Sahara will never be the south of France--Obvious, with the rising sun.
If I had no home, I'd build one in the sand;
If I didn't I have a love, I'd find me one.
If I didn't I have a love, I'd find me one.
I'd find me one.

Four months alone in the ice and snow,
is a long way from Annandale.
Locals and trappers and eskimos
knew better than to trust that trail.
At one with the earth he loved so well,
a retreat from the civilized,
hunger and emptiness took their toll:
Chris McCandless passed us by.

chorus twice

The Sahara desert is the largest desert on earth. It covers over 9,000,000 kilometers squared. The countries Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger and Mali have at least some land within the Sahara Desert. These countries collectively harbor the 1.5 million people that live in the Sahara desert. Primarily, the Sahrawis (with roughly 750,000 people) and the Tuareg (with around 500,000 people). The largest city is Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, in which live around 600,000 people. All of these people eat from the fewer than 200,000 square kilometers of oases, where vegetation can successfully grow. Up to 1/4 of the Sahara is mountainous, containing the mountain ranges are the Hajjar Mountains in Algeria, Aïr/Azbine in Niger, and the Tibesti in Chad.

ORPHANED LANDSahara (Holy Records, 1994)

Ok, hands up. How many bands do you know that hail from Israel, have Jewish and Palestinian members in their ranks and play a mix of Death and Oriental Doom Metal with a healthy dose of oriental melodies?

Not many?

I thought so. This is most likely caused by the fact Orphaned Land are one of the very few bands that do that, and do it very well indeed. Originality is certainly not a feature lacking from the band’s repertoire.

Sahara is their first full length record, which at the time of writing celebrates a decade of pleasing music fans worldwide. It shouldn’t be surprising that it only took the band a year to sign a deal after releasing their first demo (Beloved's Cry). Holy Records was at the time a label with a knack of picking up unusual and unusually skilled artists. Sahara was released in 1994 to an extremely enthusiastic reception by European underground press and fans. I still remember the review that the album received in the Aardschok magazine that gave it 89 points. Now, that is some achievement for a debut of a band that absolutely no one in the underground was yet familiar with. Remember, this was before widespread use of the WWW and for obvious geographic reasons not many metal maniacs have had a chance to attend one of Orphaned Land's shows.

I have mentioned the rather unorthodox setup of the band. Thankfully this setup does not result in a bland record that uses a few oriental hooks and an interesting bio as its only selling point. The guys play a very technically proficient brand of metal with truly interesting compositions that I still enjoy after hundreds of listening sessions. The oriental melodies and hooks fit in seamlessly with the more traditional sections of the songs and never give the feeling that they were added as a gimmick. Rather they come across as very true and purposeful.

The opening track 'Sahara's Storm' starts out immersing the listener in an oriental atmosphere only to evolve into a moderately aggressive death metal sound with some spoken word parts. Actually this and the next track 'Blessed Be Thy Hate' seem to draw most heavily on 'Turn Loose The Swans' era My Dying Bride but at the same time giving them their own distinct twist.

The highlight of the record to me though, is the brilliant 'Aldior Al Mukadisa'. This song starts out in Arabic ends in Hebrew and even includes live-coverage from a synagogue and welds all of this together with a relatively simple instrumental section. Not only is this a great piece musically but it has a lot of added emotional/historical value, especially in view of the recent unfortunate events in the Middle East that we hear of on the news almost daily. If this quintet managed to put this together maybe there is hope for a resolution of the mess going on in their home country (no I am not a hippie). The band further exhibits their creativity and proficiency during 'Orphaned Land, The Storm Still Rages Inside', here they play with many tempo-changes, spoken, clean, Death Metal- and female vocals and confront us with a complexity recently only matched by the likes of Opeth.

If you, like me are always hungry for new sounds and musical experiences you should give this record a definite try. It never ceases to amaze me how many great and undiscovered gems come out from countries we don't usually associate with the Heavy-Metal scene (at least here in Europe). I think that this is partly due to the fact that they are not burdened by a history of illustrious predecessors. The 'heritage' often forms a conservative harness that is difficult to break out of. Its lack enables bands in ‘other countries’ to provide us with very refreshing and original sounds. Orphaned Land are an almost exemplary band in this respect.

Orphaned Land - Sahara

  1. The Sahara's Storm
  2. Blessed Be Thy Hate
  3. Ornaments Of Gold
  4. Aldiar Al Mukadisa - The Holy Land Of Israel
  5. Seasons Unite
  6. The Beloveds Cry
  7. My Requiem
  8. Orphaned Land - The Storm Still Rages Inside...
  9. Above you all
  10. Pits of despair
  11. The beloved's cry (remix)


Sahara is a terrible action adventure film which was released in the spring of 2005 by Paramount.

Novelist Clive Cussler wrote a book called Sahara, from whom this film is very loosely based, and he had attempted to sue to have the film stopped, after rejecting many previous drafts of the screenplay. Yes, there were multiple drafts of this film, and the end result was the culmination of those efforts. You'd think they woulda gotten it right after a few tries. Had the judge been able to SEE the film before deciding in favor of Hollywood, the world would have been spared this treacherously pathetic attempt at an action adventure movie. Unfortunately that was not the case and I personally believe myself to be permanently scarred and traumatized by this slimly passable example of cinematic effort. Perhaps if I could get a lawyer, I could sue Paramount for mental anguish. I certainly could use the money.

Sahara has everything necessary for a successful blockbuster. This explains why Sahara was number one in the box office its first weekend, with close to twenty million dollars in returns after being shown on well over three thousand screens nationwide. To wit: we moviegoers are pavlovian dogs. We will go see any trite crap Hollywood throws at us, provided something blows up at least once every ten minutes. Cool looking vehicles going real fast and people shooting at one another helps too. If we can't get senseless acts of sex in our mainstream media, we'll settle for senseless violence. We suck. After watching this film, I'm beginning to reconsider my opinion about pornography: could it be that the porn genre is preferable in quality to action adventure? I mean the porn industry makes no bones about their plots existing solely to get people naked and on top of one another. In retrospect, I find I respect that attitude better than having a plot solely to get people trying to kill each other.

Yet despite my own questionable taste in whether sex is better for humanity than violence, the consumers of America have spoken: Sahara is a film more worthy of their disposable income than Guess Who, Fever Pitch, Beauty Shop, or Miss Congeniality Two Armed and Fabulous. This of course means nothing. I've seen home movies more worthy of spending disposable income than Sahara. However, how can Sahara possibly fail? It has Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt (and what a name is that for your stereotypical leading man huh?), a cross between Indiana Jones and Randal Graves, appearing to perform death-defying stunts and otherwise ignoring the laws of physics while after treasure and girls, inadvertently saving the world in the process. It has Steve Zahn as the predictably sarcastic and laconic sidekick that doesn't know he's a sidekick. It has Penélope Cruz who is admittedly masterful at pretending to be intelligent while gorgeous. It has the award-winning William H. Macy, who spends what little screen time he has in this film looking as if he lost a bet. Directed by Breck Eisner, son of Will Eisner, this film was put together with training wheels, and someone forgot to take them off before releasing the film.

This is cookie cutter cinema. You got your girl. You got your gold. You got your chase scenes. You got your kickass soundtrack. You got your bad guys, who are so predictably greedy and power-hungry that I find myself bored even attempting to describe them. You got all these beautiful locations where the stories take place mostly because they're beautiful. You got all these soulful, suffering, innocent extras mulling about making you feel sorry for them. You got more one-liners and obvious jokes than a Jay Leno monologue.

You got all these plot elements which we've seen in countless other films including but not limited to the following:

1. a disease that will kill everybody unless you're wearing surgical gloves and a hospital mask (except for closeups because it obscures the well-paid Cruz's beautiful face),
2. a father-figure looking guy (Glynn Turman) whose sole purpose in the film is to stand by the lead female ingenue (Cruz) until the writer decides he has to die to prove to the audience that the bad guys mean business.
3. a lost treasure which is vaguely researched for historical significance making one wonder blandly throughout the film how the American Civil War has anything to do with the rest of the film: answer? Not much.
4. a lot of chase scenes, including one with boats. (!)
5. lots of things blowing up.
6. lots and lots of guns because they're so cool.
7. a romantic subplot so unbelievably predictable it's insulting.
8. a train, because action movies should always have a train.
9. the bad guy's lair, complete with plenty of hiding places for the good guys and plenty of drug-induced comas for the contract-labor bad guy henchmen.
10. a connect-the-dot linear plot structure whose sole purpose is to keep the characters moving from one insanely predictable dillema to the next.

Of course the lead good guy knows how to fight in dramatic ways that make him look good without breaking a sweat. Of course the lead good guy puts together obscure clues and reaches for conclusions in much the same way as Batman and Robin did in their sixties sitcom days. Of course the lead good guy is perfectly capable and ready for anything the bad guys throw at him, as if the bad guys were perfectly chosen to be just a little worse at everything than the lead good guy. Of course the lead good gal falls instantly in love with the lead good guy, but plays coy cuz she's got important saving-the-world-from-this-disease stuff to attend to, but we all know they'll eventually run to Monterey's Coast and have lots of sex after the film's over. Of course the lead good gal should be capable of saving herself because women are no longer damsels in distress, but she lets the lead good guy save her repeatedly anyway because she wants him to think he's doing well.

Of course the lead good guy is financed by an insanely wealthy dude who still gets just a little upset when the lead good guy blows up his boat. Of course the sidekick who doesn't know he's a sidekick keeps losing his hat and isn't that funny not really. Of course the sidekick just happens to follow a ball he was kicking around until it just happens to stop bouncing when it lands where the script wanted the sidekick to end up. Of course the idea that an old boat loosely based off some Civil War historical references would end up in the middle of the Sahara and still have functionable weaponry and armor some hundred and fifty years later is completely unbelievable. This movie is intended to be brain-dead entertainment for the masses, so the people making the movie will make a lot of money. It's not supposed to make sense, that wouldn't be any fun would it?

So if you want your entertainment with a side order of a frontal lobotomy, by all means check this one out. It's fun. It's also stupid. It's stupid fun. Personally, I prefer my entertainment with a side order of at least veiled intelligence. Sahara wants to be the Romancing The Stone of the 21st century, but barely qualifies for a Road Runner cartoon. I would hesitate to not ruin the film for you, but the film ruined itself already so there's little more I can do here. Let me just end with this: one of the bad guys gets blown up in a helicopter, another bad guy falls off a cliff screaming to his death, and the third bad guy.. Well I honestly can't remember what happened to him but it was probably in some manner that would allow him to return for the sequel. And God help us, there may very well be a sequel to Sahara, because it did make almost twenty million dollars its first weekend, and Hollywood is nothing if not tasteless.

Sahara (Arabic Sah'ra), the vast desert region stretching from the Atlantic to the Nile, and from the S. confines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli S. to the vicinity of the Niger and Lake Tchad. It is usual to regard the Libyan Desert, lying between Egypt, the Central Sudan, and Tripoli, as a separate division. It was long customary to assert that the Sahara was the bed of an ancient inland sea. Since the French became masters of Algeria, they have completely revolutionized our knowledge. The surface, instead of being uniform and depressed below sea-level, is highly diversified, and attains in one place an altitude of fully 8,000 feet. There are still several extensive tracts as to which we have next to no information.

From the neighborhood of Cape Blanco in the W. a vast bow or semi-circle of sand dunes stretches round the N. side of the Sahara to Fezzan, skirting the Atlas Mountains and the mountains of Algeria. This long belt of sand hills varies in width from 50 to 300 miles, called Erg. The hills rise 300 feet though the average elevation is about 70 feet. They are composed of pure quartz sand, stationary in character, though constantly changing their outward form and configuration; and lie as a rule in parallel chains. Water is nearly always to be found below the surface in the hollows between the different chains and a few dry plants struggle to maintain a miserable existence. S. of Algeria, on the other side of the Erg, the country rises into the lofty plateau of Ahaggar (4,000 feet), which fills all the middle parts of the Sahara. Its surface runs up into veritable mountains 6,500 feet high, which are covered with snow for three months in the year. On the S. it falls again toward the basins of the Niger and Lake Tchad; there are mountain ranges along the E. side reaching 8,000 feet in Mount Tusidde in the Tibbu country, and a mountain knot in the oasis of Air, which reaches 6,500 feet. Mountainous tracts occur also in the W. between Morocco and Timbuctoo, but of inferior elevation (2,000 feet). These mountainous parts embrace many deep valleys, most of them seamed with the dry beds of ancient rivers, as the Igharghar and the Mya. These valleys always yield an abundance of water, if not on the surface in the watercourses, then a short distance below it, and are mostly inhabited, and grazed by the cattle and sheep and camels of the natives.

Another characteristic type of Saharan landscape is a low plateau strewn with rough blocks of granite and other rocks, and perfectly barren. These elevated stone fields -- called "hammada" -- alternate with tracts of bare flat sands, with broad marshes, where water has stood and evaporated, leaving salt behind it, and with extensive tracts of small, polished, smoothly-rounded stones. In many parts of the Sahara, especially in the valleys of the mountainous parts, in the recesses or bays at the foot of the hills, alongside the water-courses, and in the hollows of the sand dunes, in all which localities water is wont to exist, there are oases -- habitable, cultivable spots, islands of verdure in the midst of the ocean of desert. These oases mark the caravan routes between the Central Sudan States and the Mediterranean.

The Romans had colonies of military posts a long way S. in what are now desert regions; and both Herodotus and Pliny tell us that the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the crocodile, all animals that only live near abundant supplies of water, were common throughout North Africa in their day. None of the Egyptian inscriptions or animal sculptures represent the camel, nor to the Greek and Roman historians mention it either as being a denizen of North Africa. The camel is now the principal carrier across the Sahara, and must have been introduced since the begining of the Christian era.

The terrors of the desert sand storm have often been described. Thick deposits of Sahara quartz sand dust were discovered by the "Challenger" on the floor of the Atlantic a long way W. of the African coast. The sand in these dunes is so dry that in several places the tread of a camel or man will make the hill hum, or even thunder, as a vast quantity of it slips down to a lower level. The range of temperature is exceedingly great; often the thermometer falls from considerably more than 100 degrees F during the day to just below freezing-point at night. In the W. of the Sahara the daily average is 85 degrees in the shade in the month of May. Rain falls in parts of the Sahara, but in most districts after intervals of two to five years. After a fall of rain it is not unusual to see the river beds in the mountainous regions filled with foaming torrents. The atmosphere is so dry and clear that objects can be seen and sounds heard at a vast distance. Owing to the extreme dryness of the air, the Sahara is very healthy.

The plant life is very rich in the oases, the date palm, which has its home in these regions, being the principal ornament as well as the most valuable possession of these fertile spots. In the desert region the plant life is principally confined to tamarisks, prickly acacias and similarly thorny shurbs and trees, salsolacae, and coarse grasses. The animals most commonly met with include the giraffe, two or three kinds of antelope, wild cattle, the wild ass, desert fox, jackal, hare, lion, ostrich, desert lark, crow, viper, python, locusts, flies. The people keep as domestic animals the camel, horse, ox, sheep, and goat.

The human inhabitants, who are estimated altogether at between 1,500,000 and 2,500,000, consist of Moors, Tuareg, Tibbu, Negroes, Arabs, and Jews. The Tuareg are great traders and control the principal caravan routes. The Tibbu, who number about 200,000, and are regarded as being ethnically intermediate between the Berbers and the Negroes, occupy the oases bewtween Fezzan and Lake Tchad. The Arabs of pure stock are very few.

The boring of artesian wells, and with the water so obtained irrigating the soil in the vicinity, was apparently known to the ancients, and has been prosecuted by the French with great energy since 1856. By 1890 they had made a string of these wells from the cultivated districts of Algeria as far as Tugurt, on the edge of the desert S. of Biskra. Water is generally found at depths varying from 10 to 300 feet, in great abundance, and around them date palm groves and orchards support agricultural communities. A telegraph line across the desert S. to Timbuktu was opened in 1906.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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