- Population: 104 million people live in Egypt (2020)
- Capital: Cairo with 21 million inhabitants
- Name: Arab Republic of Egypt
- Government: Presidential republic
- Languages: Arabic (official language)
- Literacy: 72% of the population aged 15 years and over can read and write
- Religion: Muslims 90%, Christians 10%
- Currency: 1 Egyptian Pound = 100 Piastres
- National Day: 23 July (Revolution Day)
- National Symbols: golden eagle (national animal), white lotus (national flower)
- National Colours: red, white and black
- National Anthem: “Bilady, bilady, bilady” (“My Homeland”)
- History: Already in 9000 BC hunter-gatherers had settled in the region. King Menes founded the first dynasty around 3150 BC with distinct arts, religion and customs. The New Kingdom (1550 – 1000) BC is known for the pharaohs and their tombs. Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire after it was seized by Ottoman Turks in 1517. 1869 the Suez Canal was built and Egypt became a transport hub for the region. Egypt became independent in 1922 from the British Empire. After the Revolution in 1952, the country became a republic.
Egypt Geography | Egypt Map
Where is Egypt? Egypt is a large country in northern Africa. The capital city of Egypt is called Cairo.Map of Egypt
Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea in the North and the Red Sea in the East. The country shares borders Israel, Libya, Sudan and the Gaza Strip (Palestine).
The longest border of Egypt is shared with Sudan.
The name Egypt comes from the ancient Greek name for the county ‘Aigyptos‘.
Nile river at Luxor in Egypt
Egypt is three times larger in land area than New Mexico/USA or is slightly smaller in size than three times the size of Germany.
Egypt is a 5-hours flight from London/UK or 12-hours flight from New York/USA.
Egypt Facts | Geography Superlatives
- Egypt is a transcontinental country. The Sinai peninsula forms a land bridge between the African and the Asian continents.
- The largest city of Egypt is Cairo. About 21 million people live in the metropolitan area of Egypt’s capital city. Cairo is the second largest city on the African continent – after Lagos in Nigeria.
Cairo is located at the Nile river
- Egypt is the country with the most Arab speaking people in the world. Some also refer to Egypt as the most populous country in the Arab world.
- Al-Azhar University is Egypt’s oldest university. The Islam university was founded in 975 AD.
Al-Azhar University in Cairo
- The Nile is the longest river in the world. The Nile enters the Mediterranean Sea just north of Cairo.
- The Suez canal finished in 1869 connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean’s Red Sea. The Red Sea is the name for the waters that surround the Sinai peninsula.
- The three biggest cities in Egypt are Cairo, Alexandria and Giza.
- The highest mountain in Egypt is Gabal Katrîne, also called Mount Catherine, with 2,629 m/ 8,625 ft. The highest mountain of Egypt is located on the Sinai peninsula. Nearby Saint Catherine’s monastery is one of the oldest working monasteries in the world!
Willow Peak or Mount Horeb with St Catherine’s monastery
- Most of Egypt’s landscape is dominated by deserts. A few oases are dotting the desert. Egypt and Sudan are the easternmost countries of the Sahara desert.
- Egypt’s climate is mainly hot and dry. Rainfall occurs in the winter months when even snowfalls can be expected on the mountainsides of the Sinai peninsula.
Egypt Facts | Egypt Landmarks
- Cairo: The largest city in Egypt is home to many famous Egyptian landmarks. Here you can find the Cairo Tower, the Citadel and the Egyptian Museum. In the tenth century Cairo was the centre of the Islamic world. Thus many Islamic buildings such as mosques, madrassas or hammams can be explored. The Sultan Hassan Mosque Madrassa is another iconic landmark of Cairo.
Mosque Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
- Giza: The pyramid complex of Giza is only 13 km/ 8 miles from Cairo and can even be seen from the city! The pyramids and the Great Sphinx are part of the Giza Necropolis. The Great Pyramid is the tallest pyramid and was built in Ancient Egypt around 2650 BC.
Great Pyramid and Great Sphinx
- Alexandria: The second largest city in Egypt is home to more than 5 million people. The city was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos) was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This is also the location were once the Great Library, the largest library in ancient times was standing. The ancient Pompey’s pillar and the sphinx are among the best known ancient monuments of Alexandria.
Pompey’s Pillar and Sphinx in Alexandria
- Luxor and Thebes: Thebes is an ancient Egyptian city that was once the capital city of Egypt during the Middle and New kingdoms. The ruins lie where today we find the city of Luxor. The Karnak temple is located in the Thebes complex. The open-air museum in Karnak contains reconstructions of the buildings and temples of the site.
Karnak Temple with hieroglyphics
- Valley of the Kings: The site is located near Luxor on the western side of the Nile River. This is the location of 64 tombs and chambers that were once cut in the rocks. There the noble families and kings (pharaohs) of the New Kingdom were buried. Among the most famous tombs are those of Pharaoh Tutankhamen and Pharaoh Ramses VI.
Inside the Ramses VI tomb in the Valley of the Kings
- Mount Sinai: The locals call this mountain ‘Jabal Musa’. This mountain on the Sinai peninsula is considered to be the place where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.
Mount Sinai also called Jabal Musa
- Wadi Al-Hitan or Whale Valley: The fossils found in the ‘Whale Valley’ are evidence of the evolution of whales, showing the transition from land animals to ocean animals. In Egypt, there are seven UNESCO world heritage sites, six cultural sites and the Wadi-Al-Hitan, a natural world heritage site.
Fossils found at Whale Valley
- Sharm El Sheik on the Sinai Peninsula is one of the most popular tourist resorts of Egypt. The resort borders the Red Sea and is famous for its magnificent diving sites and stunning sandy beaches.
Sharm El Sheik beach
Egypt Facts | Egypt People
Market vendor with oranges
Egypt is home to the largest population in the Arab countries. Most Egyptians live in the fertile valley along the Nile river.
Aswan at the Nile River
Almost all people in Egypt (99%) live on 5% of the land area of the country! Very few people live in oases in the desert.
In Egypt most of the people are Egyptians, smaller Ethnic groups include Turks, Greeks and the Berbers.
Islam is the state religion of Egypt. However, Egypt’s population was mainly Christian until the seventh century before the county was islamised. The Egyptian muslims today are mainly Sunni muslims.
Today Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, while Coptic Christians are a minority.
Languages in Egypt | Egypt Facts
Arabic is the official language in Egypt, but most the people (68%) speak a distinct Egyptian Arabic dialect.
Egyptian though is the language that was spoken in the region in ancient Egypt. The first written examples of this language date back to around 3000 BC.
Hieroglyphics (Old Egyptian writing) on a papyrus scroll
Today the main foreign languages taught at school are English and French.
Egypt Facts | Egypt Economy
The main water source in Egypt is the Nile, as rainfalls are sparse. Today, the country relies mainly on irrigation systems for growing crops. The Nile waters are regulated by the Aswan dam since the 1960s.
Aswan dam is one of the world’s largest artificial water reservoirs with an earthen dam wall. Prior to the building of the dam, the Nile flooded the area regularly and provided sufficient water to the communities living along the Nile. Today climate change and raising water levels are a major challenge to the country.
The main agricultural products of Egypt are fruits and vegetables, cotton, rice, corn and wheat. Egypt is known for its high quality Egyptian cotton.
Harvesting cotton in Egypt
The main trading partners are the United Arab Emirates, China, the UK and the USA.
Egypt is one of Africa’s largest oil and natural gas producers. The country mainly exports crude oil and petroleum products, as well as agricultural products and textiles.
Food in Egypt | Egypt Facts
The Egyptian cuisine mainly uses vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, beans courgettes (zucchini), eggplants (aubergines), okra, grapes and dates as well as spices such as cumin, garlic and coriander. Vegetarian dishes are very common in the country as vegetables, fruits, rice, beans and various grains are commonly cultivated in the country. Pita bread is served with all meals. In the Mediterranean region as well as in the Nile valley, fish and seafood are available. Chicken and lamb are the most popular meats but quite expensive.
Here are some typical Egyptian dishes:
- Kushari: often considered the national dish, Kushari is made with rice, lentils, pasta, spices and fried onions and served with a hot and spicy tomato sauce.
The Egyptian national dish is called Kushari
- Dukkah: a dip of dry ground spices, seeds and nuts that are served with pita bread for dipping into the spice mixture.
- Eish balad: Egyptian pita bread is round and flat and is made with flour, water, salt and yeast
- Kofta: fried round meat balls made of ground meat and spices
- Molokhia: green soup made with green yute leaves, garlic, coriander and various spices
Molokhia with rice and chicken, pita bread and salad
Egypt is home to many animals such as camels, donkeys, horses, sheep and goats as well as gazelles, desert lynxes and desert foxes who mainly live in the desert areas. The Nubian ibex is an endangered species and only few of these gazelles live in the rocky mountains of the Sinai peninsula.Nubian Ibex
Sea life is abundant in Egypt! Dolphins, turtles, rays and sharks are plentiful in Egypt’s ocean waters. More than 1,200 species of fish, many in bright colours, and more than 300 species of corals can be found in the Red Sea which is named among the world’s best diving sites.
Diving in Egypt’s Red Sea