Egypt is the birthplace of human civilization. This is an ancient state with a rich history and culture. A third of all the monuments of the ancient world are concentrated in Egypt and you definitely will find something interesting there.
What Egypt is known for?
It is known primarily for the magnificent monuments of ancient Egyptian culture. The age of some of them is more than 5 thousand years. You will find such treasures of world history and monumental art as temple complexes in Karnak and Luxor, monuments of Byzantine and Coptic architecture in Alexandria, the Fayum Labyrinth (which has about 3 thousand rooms), the colossi of Abu Simbel in Egypt.
The most famous Egyptian buildings are the pyramids in Giza. They are the part of the great “city of the dead”, some of them were built about 5 thousand years ago. And don’t forget about the Faros lighthouse in Alexandria, built in about 280 BC. e., but destroyed by an earthquake. These monuments belong to the seven wonders of the world. Pyramids are the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs. The most ancient of them were built about 5 thousand years ago, in a suburb of Cairo Giza.
The territory of Egypt is located on two continents – in northeast Africa and the Sinai Peninsula in Asia. It is one of the largest states in the world by its area, and its population is the largest in the Arab East. However, the Egyptians live in a very limited territory, it takes only 4% of the area of Egypt. This is the fertile valley and delta of the country’s only river – Nile River, the longest in the world (6671 km). Libyan, Arabian and Nubian deserts, that are lifeless sandy and gravelly plateaus from 300 to 1000 m high, occupy 96% of Egypt. Cities and villages are located only close to the river or oases. In the north-west of the country, you can find Qattara and Fayyum depressions (133 and 45 m below sea level, respectively).
The climate of Egypt is dry and there are hot khamsin winds (Arab, “fifty”), blowing from the Sahara for 50 consecutive days in April – June, bringing huge clouds of small sand dust. Khamsin covers wide lands and life freezes even in large cities. The Nile is the only water source on the surface. However, in the desert, under dense layers of sand, underground lakes and even seas of freshwater are hidden. The Egyptians use this water for irrigation of agricultural land, without which the country could not feed itself.
Egypt is rich in many tropical plants, mostly planted by man. Thanks to the hard work of landscapers, beautiful parks and village gardens have been created everywhere. You can find palms, citrus fruits, figs, mangoes, guavas, bananas there. Natural flora is much poorer because almost all fertile lands used as fields or pastures. Each feddan (Arabic measure of the area equal to 0.42 hectares) is highly valued in Egypt.
The animal life of the country is not too rich. One of the rare species, the Nubian Capricorn can be found in the Wadi Rishrash reserve in the south of the country. But the world of birds is extremely diverse, especially in the Nile Delta. Storks, herons, pelicans, various ducks and pink flamingos fly to Egypt from Europe to spend the winter there. Unlike the terrestrial fauna, the underwater world of the warm Red Sea is full of sharks, exotic fish of various colors, octopuses, squids, crustaceans (including lobsters) and dolphins.
The most authentic representatives of the Egyptians, the ancient builders of the pyramids, are the Egyptian peasants – fellahs. The Nubians also belong to the indigenous peoples of Egypt; their population counts about 500 thousand people. Near the border with Libya, several thousand Berbers live. The languages of these nationalities belong to the Cushite and Berber groups. In the north of the country, there are many Lebanese and other immigrants from Arab countries, as well as Greeks, Armenians, French, and Italians.
Language and religion
The state language in the country is Arabic, and Egyptian is the most colorful Arabic dialect. It borrows many phrases and words from Coptic, Turkish, Persian and other languages. Berbers, Nubians, and other non-Arab populations are bilingual. The dominant religion, as elsewhere in North Africa, is Sunni Islam. In Cairo, the largest High School of the Islamic world – Al-Azhar University is situated. About 10% of the Egyptian population profess Christianity.
One of the treasures of Egypt is its capital Cairo, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Many world-famous masterpieces of the ancient Egyptians are represented in the collections of the capital’s Egyptian Museum, founded in 1858, the largest art center of Ancient Egypt’s culture. The museum’s exposition includes items made of gold, alabaster, onyx, and other semiprecious stones, directly from the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. A sculptural image of the head of Nefertiti, statues of the leaders of Ancient Egypt – pharaohs Joser, Mykerin, the goddess Hathor, alabaster sculpture of the pharaoh Chefren and mummies whose age exceeds 3 thousand years are collected in the Egyptian museum.
The most popular thing to do in Egypt is diving in the underwater world of the Red Sea. You can see all the wealth of the bottom of the sea in two ways: with a pipe mask or using special diving equipment. The first method is suitable for almost anyone. But if you want to dive to great depths, you need an instructor. Some of the world’s most beautiful places for diving can be found in the Ras Mohammed National Reserve in Sharm El Sheikh.
The special geopolitical position of the country, the rich historical heritage, significant economic potential, and a high level of development of modern culture determine the influence of Egypt on the social life of the entire Middle East region.