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  Egypt

CAPITAL : Cairo
POPULATION : 77,420,000 (2009 estimate)
DISTRICTS : 29 governorates; Cairo (capital governorate)
RELIGION : Official Islamic state religion
TIME : EET (Eastern European Time)
CURRENCY : Egyptian Pound

Overview

As one of the oldest and most alluring countries, with an exciting and awe-inspiring history dating to before ancient times, Egypt’s appeal lies in a culture steeped in mystery and some of the most iconic sights and monuments in the history of the world.

Geography and Climate

The majority of Egypt’s landscape is desert, apart from the stark contrast offered by the landscape running alongside the Nile River and its lush, fertile deltas. Apart from winter months, the country receives little or no rainfall, but the predictable flooding of the Nile River provides exceptionally regenerative attributes to the soil, and allows Egypt to survive the otherwise unforgiving weather conditions and harsh desert winds. Snowfall only occurs in the Sinai mountains.

History

Egypt went from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a dynastic regime of kingdoms that have delivered such marvels of ancient engineering as the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Dead. Other influences within the country include Persian, Greek and significant elements from the Ottoman Empire, finally resulting in Egypt’s occupation by and assimilation into the Muslim nations. Near the end of the 1800s, Egypt became a British protectorate, until it was declared independent by Britain in 1922.

Economy and Infrastructure

Agriculture, media and tourism form the backbone of Egypt’s current economy. Petroleum exports, as well as moderating travel through the Suez Canal, bring up the industrial revenue sectors for the country, and while Egypt’s economy is at times overtaxed by its population density overflow centred around the Nile, the country has instituted significant economic reforms during the new millennium, with increasing tourism figures and stock market stability providing a solid foundation for the country to slowly emerge as a dominant player in the eastern Mediterranean area, as well as the world.

Culture

Egypt has contributed massively to the cultural influences across the world, immortalizing their ancient eras throughout historical journals and documentation. Six thousand years of culture have led to memorable advances in engineering, architecture and iconography, even language. A multi-pantheon religion from ancient times can still be seen in popular culture roots across the globe. Egypt is rife with incredible sights and wonders to visit, advancing its tourist appeal, while commercialisation and metropolitan, westernised centres make the country a divine blend of attractions.

Cuisine

Egyptian food is rising in popularity across the world. Dishes like Baba Ghannoug, dolma, shwarmas and moussaka are much-loved delicacies in their country of origin. Egypt is known for its varieties of bread and entrees.

Interesting Facts

  • The native Egyptians’ name for their own country is ‘Misr’, or ‘Masr’, in the local language.
  • Ancient Egyptians were responsible for inventing devices that are used to this day, like combs, wigs, scissors, toothbrushes, locks and keys, and makeup.
  • Imhotep lived nearly 5,000 years ago, and is the oldest engineer known by name today.
  • The oldest known board game – also credited with influencing the eventual modern chess sets – is called senet and was created in ancient Egypt.
  • Ancient Egyptian mummification rituals, using natron salts and sodium bicarbonate, have practical applications in modern-day meat curing. 
 

 

 

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