population of Egypt stands at around 58,519,000,
with projections placing the population at 65
million by the end of 1997. Although the birth
rate has gone down slightly (from 2.8% annually
in the 1980s down to 2.3%), the country's population
explosion is its greatest and most intractable
problem, exacerbated by the sheer lack of habitable
land area. Almost the entire population lives
in the Delta and in the Nile Valley which is only
about 4% of the country's land area, making this
land among of the most densely populated in the
is the country's official language.
dialect is distinct from all others and, because
of the country's dominance of the media (television,
cinema, radio and music), the most recognizable
Arab popular singers from as far
afield as Morocco and Syria, often emigrate to
Egypt and sing in the Egyptian dialect instead
of their own.
Egyptian Pound (L.E.), divided into 100 piastres,
is the official currency of Egypt. As of 1995
the 3.40 Egyptian Pounds equal one US Dollar.
The once severe currency restrictions have largely
been lifted and the Egyptian Pound (L.E.) can
be freely exchanged with other currencies.
covers an area of approximately 1,001,450 sq km
(386,662 sq mi) in northeastern Africa, its northern
coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, its eastern
coastline along the Red Sea and touching the State
of Israel in the Sinai. Libya shares its western
border, Sudan its southern border.
Nominally independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt
acquired full sovereignty following World War
II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971
and the resultant Lake Nasir have altered the
time-honored place of the River Nile in the agriculture
and ecology of Egypt. The Nile is the world's
longest river. Until the Aswan Dam was completed
in 1965, flooding occurred every year.
A rapidly growing population (the largest in the
Arab world) will continue to stress Egyptian society
and overtax resources as the country enters the
All but a very small percentage of the population
lives along the fertile Nile Valley and Delta;
the remainder of the country-more than 90 percent-
is desert. The Western Desert is low lying; the
Eastern Desert is cut through by wadis (riverbeds
that are dry for much of the year). In the southeast
the desert gives way to mountains along the Red
Sea. The Sinai Peninsula, is another desert region
that lies south of Israel and east of the Gulf
of Suez. The Suez Canal, an artificial waterway
opened in 1869, runs from Port Said to Suez, linking
the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It was
built to save European ships from having to sail
all the way around Africa to reach the Indian
Ocean. Egypt's capital and largest city is Cairo.
The climate is hot and dry.
Egypt Geography History Mythology - Video
A Brief Analysis of the Geography, History, and Religious Stories that Relate to Egyptian Art
Ohlone College - Art 103A - Art History Stone Age Technology through the Early Renaissance,
Professor Kenney Mencher,
most of the year, most of Egypt is hot and dry.
Alexandria and the Mediterranean coastal communities
experience milder weather while the heat in Cairo
and other inland areas is fierce with temperatures
rising to as high as 50°C in some parts of
Heavy winter rains fall along the Mediterranean
coast but are less frequent in Cairo and in the
interior. During the winter months (from November
to February), however, temperatures can fall to
freezing. Spring in Egypt is generally mild but
plagued by the khamaseen, a hot and bitter wind
which brings blinding sand and dust storms and
heralds the coming of summer.
It is the Nile "the Father of
Rivers" that, more than any
other feature of the country, characterizes Egypt.
The Nile emanates from the Ethiopia, flowing north
through the country for 1,545km (960mi), emptying
into the Mediterranean Sea and all along its course
provides Egypt and her people with life and sustenance.
Throughout history the Egyptian Nile Valley has
been defined as two distinct regions -- Upper
Egypt, which extends south of Cairo to the Sudanese
border, and Lower Egypt, which encompasses the
Nile Delta that begins north of Cairo.
Although the lotus and papyrus are symbols of
Egypt, it is the date palm that dominates the
landscape. The Nile Delta and the Nile River Valley
have a rich variety of trees -- some indigenous,
some imported -- including the tamarisk, acacia,
eucalyptus, mimosa, jacaranda, cypress and sycamore
as well as a wide variety of fruit trees from
citrus to fig to mango.
Other fruits and vegetables flourish in the fertile
land along the Nile, as well as a vivid array
of flowers from the rose, poincianca, lotus (of
course), jasmine, lily and bird of paradise. A
multiplicity of grasses grow along the Nile as
Camels, buffalo and donkeys are the most prevalent
animals to be found in Egypt. As for desert wildlife,
the gazelle, jackal, jerboa and desert fox are
indigenous to the country, as well as lizards
and several venomous snakes.
Egypt is also one of the greatest centres of Arabian
horse breeding in the world with large government-controlled
stud farms under the auspices of the Egyptian
There are about 200 species of migratory birds
and 150 species of local birds, including the
marsh sandpiper, spoonbill, pink flamingo, hoopoe,
heron, stork, quail, egret and golden oriole.
Eagles, falcons, vultures, hawks and owls are
among the birds of prey to be found.
Egypt also has a plethora of insect life, including
mosquitoes, flies, fleas and scorpions. There
are said to be as many as 190 species of fish
in the Nile and many more in the Mediterranean
and Red Seas.
26 governorates : Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar,
Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah,
Al Isma'iliyah, Al Gizah, Al Minufiyah, Al Minya,
Al Qahirah, Al Qalyubiyah, Al Wadi al Jadid, Ash
Sharqiyah, As Suwaise, Aswan, Asyut, ::I, ::I,
Dumyat, Janub Sina', Kafr ash-Shaykh, Matruh,
Qina, Shamal Sinaa, Suhaj.
Introduced on the 11::SUP of September 1971.
The Egyptian judicial system is an amalgam of
Islamic, French and English law with a hierarchy
of courts descending from the Supreme Constitutional
Court down to primary and summary tribunals in
each of the country's 26 governorates (Muhafazat).
Chief of state:
Head of government: Prime Minister
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
Bicameral system consists of the "People's
Assembly", or Majlis al-Sha'b (454 seats;
444 elected by popular vote, 10 appointed by the
president; members serve five-year terms) and
the "Advisory Council", or Majlis al-Shura
- which functions only in a consultative role
(264 seats; 176 elected by popular vote, 88 appointed
by the president.
For most Egyptians life and lifestyle have changed
little for hundreds of years. The 20th century
has certainly made impressions in the form of
brand-name soda pop, Levis and TV. However, for
the majority fellahin (peasant farmers) population,
things today are much the same as they have always
been. There's a prevailing attitude amongst most
Egyptians that whatever will be will be. An almost
fatalistic outlook prevails, born out of thousands
of years of plague, famine, invasion and flood.
Life for most Egyptians is prescribed by the same
circumstances that existed for the generations
Painting has been part of Egyptian life since
the first daubs were applied to the Pyramid of
Unas at Saqqara in 24th century BC. But it was
the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom who were especially
keen on adorning the interiors of their tombs
with vivid images of the afterworld and resurrection.
Contemporary Egyptian painting was heavily influenced
by western art and it wasn't until midway through
this century that Egyptian painters began to break
away from these influences. Some of the country's
better known contemporary artists include Gazbia
Serri, Inji Eflatoun, Abdel Wahab Morsi, Adel
el-Siwi and Wahib Nasser.
Popular music in Egypt meant, until recently,
the ubiquitous voice of Om Kolthum, the 'mother
of Egypt'. She died in 1975 but her music and
her legend outlive her. Her songs, based on poetry
and operettas, are the best known Egyptian music
to western ears. Other notables were Abdel Halim
al-Hafez and Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab. Elements
of western pop music are increasingly being integrated
into contemporary Egyptian music, and exponents
of newer styles include Iheb Tawfik, Mohammed
Fouad and Hakim.
Culture of Egypt: EGYPTIAN CULTURE - Video
A Very Informative Video About Egyptian Culture
Culture of Egypt: EGYPTIAN CULTURE
Although Egypt is famous for belly dancing, wiggling
the body around is generally regarded as vulgar
and a sign of promiscuity. Many of the dancers
at belly-dancing shows at the resorts and tourist
hotels are in fact European or American, because
it's considered improper for Arab women to behave
so provocatively. Those dancers who are Egyptian,
like Fifi Abdou, have bodyguards for protection
against the excesses of Islamic zealotry. However,
at large family gatherings - at wedding or private
parties - dancing is sometimes part of the fun.
Naguib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize for Literature
in 1988; his masterpiece is considered to be The
Cairo Trilogy. Mahfouz has more than 40 novels
and 30 screenplays to his name. His 1956 work
Children of the Alley is still banned in Egypt,
and many people regard it as blasphemous (in 1994
an attempt was made on the life of the 83-year-old
author and it's thought that the book was the
cause). Other notable authors include Tewfiq Hakim,
Yahya Haqqi and Yusuf Idris. After Mahfouz, Nawal
al-Saadawi is probably Egypt's best known author,
although she's better regarded abroad than at
home. Her most acclaimed works are Woman at Point
Zero, The Hidden Face of Eve (banned in Egypt)
and Death of an ex-Minister. Egypt's current best-known
cultural export is Ahdaf Soueif. She writes in
English and lives in London; her latest book,
The Map of Love, was shortlisted for the Booker
Press: Al Ahram,
which has an international edition, is the semi-official
daily with a circulation of over a million and
is far and away the most important newspaper in
the country. Other newspapers include Akhbar Al-Youm,
Al Akhbar, Al Mesaa, Ajjumhuriyyah, Al-Ahali,
Al Wafd and Al Alam Al Youm. The International
Daily Asharq Alawsat is printed in Egypt at the
Al Ahram printing presses.
Under Gamal Abdel Nasser Egypt's national broadcasting
system became a powerful and influential tool
for pan-Arab propaganda. Utilizing Egypt's enormous
pool of creative talent and powerful transmitters,
the government broadcast throughout the Arab world.
While propaganda is no longer of primary importance,
Egypt's broadcasting system remains the best in
the Arab world transmitting programmes in Arabic,
English, French and other languages.
was introduced to the country in 1960 and, as
in all Arab countries, remains solely in the hands
of the government. There are five national television
channels. Egyptian soap operas are a staple of
all Arab television and have, for better or worse,
established the standards of broadcasting throughout
the region. In addition, the Egyptian Satellite
Channel transmits via Arabsat throughout the Middle
East and Nile Television broadcasts in English
and French to Europe.