Your comprehensive travel guide to Egypt- All in one place!
For centuries, tourists have flocked to Egypt to admire its ancient pyramids and temples. The country also has its fair share of natural wonders. The River Nile is the longest in the world, and the Red Sea coast is a playground for resort-style relaxation and adventurous water sports. At the heart of Egypt’s cultural identity is Cairo, a cosmopolitan capital where historic churches, mosques and museums rub shoulders with luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants.
History and Government
The world’s oldest civilization rose on the banks of the Nile around 5000 years ago when the first dynasty of pharaohs came to power under Narmer. Between 51 and 48 BC, Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy XIII and his sister Cleopatra VIII. The Roman Empire turned its sights on Egypt and there were continual skirmishes. Following the defeat of their naval forces at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, after which Egypt became part of the Roman Empire.
When the empire fell, Nubians, North Africans and Persians invaded but Egypt remained relatively stable until AD 640 when the Arabs arrived, bringing Islam. Egypt fell to the Turks in 1517 and was later invaded by both the British and the French at different points in time.
In 1952, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser led a group of military officers and pulled off a coup. The British and French invaded but the United Nations-deployed peacekeepers insisted that the invaders should leave.
President Hosni Mubarak was elected to serve his fifth term as president in Egypt's first contested presidential race in 2005.
Arab Republic of Egypt is located in the far north-eastern African continent, bordered on the north by the south-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and on the east by the north-western coast of the Red Sea. Its area is 1,002,450 square km. Most of the Egyptian land is located in Africa, but part of its land, the Sinai Peninsula, is located in the continent of Asia.
Egypt has borders with Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, and the Red Sea to the east. Egypt is traversed by the Suez Canal between its Asian and African territories.
Most of the population of Egypt is concentrated in the Nile Valley, particularly in Cairo, which has nearly a quarter of the population. Most of the remaining population live in the Delta and on both coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal cities, these regions constitute only 4% of the area of Egypt. While the majority of the remaining area of the Republic is desert and is uninhabited.
Egypt is the 30th largest country in the world and a country this size also has a population to match. With a population of over 88 million, Egypt has the world's 16th largest population. Its population is so large in part because of its major cities. The largest city in Egypt is Cairo, which boasts a population of over 7 million. The next largest city, Alexandria, has about half of that number, with 3.8 million inhabitants. One other city, Al Jizah, has a population of 2.4 million, for a total of three Egyptian cities with populations exceeding 1,000,000. Thirty-four cities in the country have populations that are a bit smaller but still contribute significantly to the high population. These cities have populations that exceed 100,000; including Port which has over 500,000 and several cities that are approaching the half-million inhabitant milestone.
The number of Egyptians that live in urbanized cities and the population of those who live in the rural areas of the country is about split in half. As cities continue to grow and native inhabitants move toward these urban areas while migrants come to the bigger cities for opportunities, it will be interesting to see how this balance changes, and how the population of the country and each major city will change in the years to come.
Egypt is cosmopolitan as it is the perfect fusion of so many cultures. The culture and tradition of Egypt are like a melting pot where multiple cultures and traditions have created a wonderful picture and a mentality that embraces new and advanced ideas for creating a liberal ambiance around. This liberal attitude is being displayed in Egyptians friendly behavior toward foreigners and tourists. If asked, people of Egypt will always share their service and enthusiasm with the people whom hardly they know. In Egypt, besides its marvelous attractions and cultural ambiance, the smiling faces of the Egyptians are an added charm. All these sweet fragments are the best part of the visit to Egypt, which will remain with you as a memory forever. Commonly, Egyptians are quite adjustable in nature and they love to help people. If you ask them any question, they will answer it happily. One most interesting thing is whenever you will ask something to an Egyptian, he will call some other people to discuss about the question and will try the best to offer you the correct answer of the question asked.
Food and Drink
Egypt’s cuisine relies heavily on the rich bounty of vegetables and fruits harvested every year in the fertile Nile Delta. The difficulty and expense of raising livestock in Egypt mean that traditionally, many dishes are vegetarian. Although today, meat can be added to most recipes. Beef, lamb and offal are all commonly used, while seafood is popular on the coast. Because the majority of the population is Muslim, pork does not feature in traditional cuisine.
Egypt is predominantly Muslim, but a large minority of Coptic Christians and a mixture of other religions make the country an exciting destination for religious, secular and ancient cultural festivals. For many of these celebrations, people pour out into the streets wearing traditional costumes to enjoy the impromptu song and dance performances and eat traditional foods.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Egypt is between October and April, when the temperature is cooler, but still pleasantly warm across the country. This makes exploring the busy streets of Cairo, visiting the Pyramids in the desert, and exploring ancient tombs of Pharaohs more comfortable and enjoyable. The summer season (May to September) is hot, although the high temperatures are alleviated by very dry air, air conditioning, far fewer visitors and lower prices. This means summer is still a viable season for your trip. There also tends to be a bit of a breeze on the Nile, making a river cruise a good choice during this period.