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Study in Egypt - About Egypt




General Information

Area: 1,001,449 sq km (622,272 sq mi)

Population: The 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 world.

Capital: Cairo

Language: Arabic is the country's official language.

Map of Egypt
Courtesy of Google Maps

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The Egyptian dialect is distinct from all others and, because of the country's dominance of the media (television, cinema, radio and music), the most recognizable and universal.

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.

Currency: The 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.

Exchange rates: Egyptian pounds per US$1; market rate: 3.4050 (January 2000), 3.4050 (1999), 3.3880 (1998), 3.3880 (1997),3.3880 (1996), 3.3900 (1995)

Religion: Muslim, majority Sunni. There is about 10% Coptic minority and other smaller Christian groups.

Time: GMT + 2 hours

Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz


Egypt 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 new millennium.

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,



Throughout 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 the country.

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.


The Nile

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 well.



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 Agricultural Organization.

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.



Government Structure

Government type

Administrative divisions
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.

Legal system
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).

Executive branch
Chief of state:
Head of government: Prime Minister
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

Legislative branch
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.

Judicial branch
Supreme Constitutional Court

Heritage and Culture

Heritage and Traditions

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 before them.

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 Prize.




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.

Radio Stations

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.


Television 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.

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