Egypt is a north-African country with a deep history and heritage of 1000 km along the Nile River. Cairo is the modern capital of Egypt. Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilisations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several world wonders, revolutionised architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it is no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists.
- Location of Egypt
- Military and foreign relations
- History of Egypt
- Ancient Egyptian Temples
- Ancient Egyptian Deities
- Pharaohs of Egypt
- Egyptian Pyramids
- Museums in Egypt
- Tourist Activities and Excursions in Egypt
- Coptic Culture
- Christian Monuments in Egypt
- Egyptian Cuisine
Location of Egypt
Egypt lies primarily between latitudes 22° and 32°N and longitudes 25° and 35°E. At 1,001,450 square kilometres (386,660 sq mi), it is the world’s 30th-largest country. Due to the extreme aridity of Egypt’s climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses approximately 5.5% of the total land area. 98% of Egyptians live on 3% of the territory.
Egypt’s important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation. Libya borders Egypt to the west, Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. It possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea.
Apart from the Nile Valley, most of Egypt’s landscape is desert, with a few oases scattered. Winds create prolific dunes that peak at more than 30 metres (100 ft) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara desert and the Libyan desert. These deserts protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats, and Egyptians referred to it as the “red land” in ancient Egypt.
Towns and cities include Alexandria, the second-largest city; Aswan; Asyut; Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital. The most significant cities are El Mahalla El Kubra; Giza, the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm El Sheikh; Suez, where the south end of the Suez Canal runs; Zagazig; and Minya. Egyptian oases include Bahariya, Dakhla, Farafra, Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.
On 13 March 2015, the government announced plans for a proposed new capital of Egypt.
Towns in Egypt
The Nile is a majestic river that flows northwards through Northeastern Africa. This beautiful river snakes through various countries and covers 6,650 km. Most importantly, the Nile River covers the drainage basins of Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. Also, it covers the basins of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Above all, this river is the primary water source for Egypt and Sudan. The Nile River system begins on the East African Plateau and flows to the Mediterranean Sea. Naturally, 20% of the total watercourse goes through the Egyptian territories.
Egypt borders the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean Sea north. The Red Sea coast stretches 800 km from Suez to the Sudanese border. At the same time, the Mediterranean Sea coast spans about 1,050 km along the northern coast. It extends from the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula at the Egypt – Gaza frontiers to the western village of Sallum on the Egyptian border with Libya. Indeed, these extended maritime areas have several sea islands. These islands are natural, except for the artificial island in the Gulf of Aqaba.
Oases of Egypt
Egyptian oases are still among the most sacred places globally, each with a unique character of its own. For the best Egypt safari adventure, you can explore the majesty of the desert by camel or jeep, spend a night under the stars, and have the pleasure of a morning dip in the hot springs. Wherever travellers stay, they can enjoy the tranquillity of the Bedouin lifestyle, date woods, pigeon towers, and blue-washed mud houses.
The House of Representatives, whose members are elected to serve five-year terms, specialises in legislation. Elections were last held between November 2011 and January 2012, later dissolved. The next parliamentary election was announced within six months of the constitution’s ratification on 18 January 2014 and was held in two phases, from 17 October to 2 December 2015. Initially, the parliament was to be formed before the president was elected, but interim president Adly Mansour pushed the date. The Egyptian presidential election 2014 took place on 26–28 May 2014. Official figures showed a turnout of 25,578,233 or 47.5%, with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi winning with 23.78 million votes or 96.9%, compared to 757,511 (3.1%) for Hamdeen Sabahi.
After a wave of public discontent with the autocratic excesses of the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi, on 3 July 2013, then-General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the removal of Morsi from office and the suspension of the constitution. A 50-member constitution committee was formed to modify the constitution, later published for public voting and adopted on 18 January 2014.
In 2013, Freedom House rated political rights in Egypt at 5 (with 1 representing the freest and seven the least) and civil liberties at 5, which gave it the freedom rating of “Partly Free”.
Egyptian nationalism predates its Arab counterpart by many decades, having roots in the 19th century and becoming the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century. The lower-middle strata of Egyptian society mainly support the ideology espoused by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has the oldest continuous parliamentary tradition in the Arab world. The first popular assembly was established in 1866. It was disbanded due to the British occupation of 1882, and the British allowed only a consultative body to sit. In 1923, however, after the country’s independence was declared, a new constitution provided for a parliamentary monarchy.
The legal system is based on Islamic and civil law (particularly Napoleonic codes); and judicial review by a Supreme Court, which accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction only with reservations.
Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation. Sharia courts and qadis are run and licensed by the Ministry of Justice. Sharia governs the personal status law regulating marriage, divorce and child custody. A woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony in a family court.
On 26 December 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to institutionalise a controversial new constitution. It replaced the 2011 Provisional Constitution of Egypt, adopted following the revolution. In a referendum held on 15–22 December 2012, with 64% support, only 33% electorate participated.
The Penal code was unique as it contains a “Blasphemy Law.” The present court system allows the death penalty against an absent individual tried in absentia. Several Americans and Canadians were sentenced to death in 2012.
On 18 January 2014, the interim government successfully institutionalised a more secular constitution. The president is elected to a four-year term and may serve two terms. The parliament may impeach the president. Since the constitution took effect, the military retains the ability to appoint the national Minister of Defence for the successive two full presidential terms. Under the constitution, there is a guarantee of gender equality and absolute freedom of thought. Under the constitution, political parties may not be based on “religion, race, gender or geography”.
Military and foreign relations
The military is influential in Egypt’s political and economic life and exempts itself from laws that apply to other sectors. It enjoys considerable power, prestige and independence within the state and has been widely considered part of the Egyptian “deep state”.
Israel speculates Egypt to be the second country in the region with a spy satellite, EgyptSat 1 and EgyptSat 2, launched on 16 April 2014.
Military Cooperation with the United States
The United States provides Egypt with annual military assistance, which in 2015 amounted to US$1.3 billion. In 1989, Egypt was designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States. Nevertheless, ties between the two countries have partially soured since the July 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The Obama administration denounces Egypt over its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and cancelling future military exercises involving the two countries.
However, there have been recent attempts to normalise relations between the two, with both governments frequently calling for mutual support in the fight against regional and international terrorism. Following the election of Republican Donald Trump as the President of the United States, the two countries were looking to improve Egyptian-American relations. On 3 April 2017, al-Sisi met with Trump at the White House, marking the first visit of an Egyptian president to Washington in 8 years. Trump praised al-Sisi in what was reported as a public relations victory for the Egyptian president and signalled it was time to normalise the relations between Egypt and the US.
Military Cooperation with Russia
Relations with Russia have improved significantly following Mohamed Morsi’s removal, and both countries have worked since then to strengthen military and trade ties, among other aspects of bilateral cooperation. Relations with China have also improved considerably. In 2014, Egypt and China established a bilateral “comprehensive strategic partnership”. In July 2019, UN ambassadors of 37 countries, including Egypt, signed a joint letter to the UNHRC defending China’s treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.
Headquarters of the Arab League
The permanent headquarters of the Arab League lies in Cairo, and the body’s secretary-general has traditionally been Egyptian. Former foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit currently holds this position. The Arab League briefly moved from Egypt to Tunis in 1978 to protest the Egypt–Israel peace treaty, but it later returned to Cairo in 1989. Gulf monarchies, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have pledged billions of dollars to help Egypt overcome its economic difficulties since the overthrow of Morsi.
Middle East mediator
Egypt has played a historical role as a mediator in resolving various disputes in the Middle East, most notably its handling of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the peace process. Following the 1973 war and the subsequent peace treaty, Egypt became the first Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Despite that, Israel is still widely considered a hostile state by most Egyptians. Egypt’s ceasefire and truce brokering efforts in Gaza have hardly been challenged following Israel’s evacuation of its settlements from the strip in 2005, despite increasing animosity towards the Hamas government in Gaza following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, and despite recent attempts by countries like Turkey and Qatar to take over this role.
Ties between Egypt and other non-Arab Middle Eastern nations have often been strained, including Iran and Turkey. Tensions with Iran are mainly due to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and Iran’s rivalry with traditional Egyptian allies in the Gulf. Turkey’s recent support for the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its alleged involvement in Libya also made both countries bitter regional rivals.
Membership in International Institutions
Egypt is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. It is also a member of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie, since 1983. Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.
In 2008, Egypt was estimated to have two million African refugees, including over 20,000 Sudanese nationals registered with UNHCR as refugees fleeing armed conflict or asylum seekers. Egypt adopted “harsh, sometimes lethal” methods of border control.
History of Egypt
Ancient Egyptian Temples
Ancient Egyptian Deities
Pharaohs of Egypt
Native pharaohs continually governed Egypt for approximately 2500 years. The Kingdom of Kush interrupted this continuity of independency rule and conquered Egypt in the late 8th century BC. However, these rulers adopted the traditional pharaonic titulature as the native pharaohs. Following the Kushite conquest, Egypt experienced another period of independent rule before the Achaemenid Empire interrupted it. The Achaemenid rulers also adopted the title of “Pharaoh”. Nectanebo II was the last native pharaoh to rule Egypt before the Achaemenids reoccupied it for a second time.
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient masonry structures located in Egypt. Sources cite at least 118 identified “Egyptian” pyramids. Approximately 80 pyramids were built within the Kingdom of Kush, now located in the modern country of Sudan. Most of those in modern Egypt were built as tombs for their pharaohs and consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.
The earliest-known Egyptian pyramids lay at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis. Although archaeologists found at least one step-pyramid-like structure at Saqqara, dating to the First Dynasty. Mastaba 3808 belonged to the reign of Pharaoh Anedjib, with inscriptions and other archaeological remains of the period suggesting there may have been others. The otherwise earliest among these is the Pyramid of Djoser, built c. 2630–2610 BCE during the Third Dynasty. This pyramid and its surrounding complex are generally the world’s oldest monumental structures constructed of dressed masonry.
The most famous Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several Giza pyramids are counted among the most significant structures ever built. The Pyramid of Khufu is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence; this is despite being the oldest wonder by about 2,000 years.
Museums in Egypt
Egypt has one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Accordingly, it has been in contact with many other civilisations and nations and has been through so many eras, starting from the prehistoric age to the modern age, passing through so many generations such as; Pharaonic, Roman, Greek, Islamic and many other periods. Because of this wide variation of ages and the continuous contact with other nations, many museums in Egypt exist, covering a wide area of these ages.
Tourist Activities and Excursions in Egypt
Tourists in Egypt choose our group excursions, as this type of excursion, in the first place, allows saving large sums spent on entertainment during the holiday stay. Usually, we organise these trips on big buses or luxury yachts and cruises. Equally, our tourists receive this type of excursion service according to the in-advance agreed conditions.
Diving is one of the exciting activities that scuba divers can enjoy in Egypt. Indeed, Egypt is a scuba diver’s paradise, boasting more than 1,800 miles of coastline, crystal clear waters, mysterious wrecks, and a myriad of multicoloured reefs teeming with marine life. Lapped by both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ has spectacular underwater environments offering some of the best diving in the world.
This article deals with the Coptic culture and its effect on Christians living in Egypt. “Copt” refers to the Egyptian Christians evangelised by St. Mark the Apostle in the first century AD. The word probably originates from the old Egyptian word Hwt-Ka-Ptah which means the “House of the God Ptah “. While the Greeks used Aigyptos for Egypt, the Copts used the Coptic term Kyptos.
Christian Monuments in Egypt
The Christian religion holds a fascinating history in Egypt. It has changed and adapted over time but ultimately survived over thousands of years. Amid the bustling streets of Cairo and out amid the wind-blown sands of the desert, trippers will still find Christian churches, monasteries, and monuments. Many of these sites are still working and in use. Wherever tourists and pilgrims travel, they will find the Christian monuments in Egypt.
Egyptian cuisine makes heavy legumes, vegetables and fruit from Egypt’s rich Nile Valley and Delta. Dishes include rice-stuffed vegetables and grape leaves, hummus, falafel, shawarma, kebab and kofta, ful medames, mashed fava beans, kushari, lentils and pasta; and molokhia, bush okra stew. Pita bread, known locally as Eish Baladi, is a staple of Egyptian cuisine. Cheesemaking in Egypt dates back to Egypt’s First Dynasty, with Domiaty being the most popular cheese today.