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Egypt

About Egypt
The land: Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa and covers an area of 386,000 square miles. Only about 5% of the country is inhabited along the banks of the Nile whose course stretches over 900 miles from the Mediterranean in the North to the Sudan in the South. To the West lies Libya and to the East are the desert plateau, Red Sea and Sinai. Egypt's most fertile area is the Nile Delta. Cairo, Egypt's capital, has 16 million inhabitants, and Alexandria, the country's second largest city, has a population of 5.5 million.The people: In 2003, Egypt's population totaled 70 millions. About 90% of Egyptians are concentrated in the fertile Nile Delta and live in 5% of the country's territory - 44% in urban areas and most in some 4,000 villages. However, during the past few years, there has been an urban migration. The Egyptians are outgoing, warm and have a distinct sense of humor. They have respect and a liking for foreigners, and a deep sense of tolerance for other races, religions and nationalities.
 
Geography: Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa. Rectangular in shape, it covers an area of 386,000 square miles. To the West lie the Western Desert and Libya, and a desert plateau, Red Sea and Sinai, borders the East. The Sudan is on Egypt's southern border and to the North lies the Mediterranean. Only about 4 to 5 percent of the vast country is inhabited along the banks of the Nile. Below Cairo, the Nile fans out in two main branches - Rosetta on the West and Damietta on the East. Egypt can be divided into the following parts:
The Eastern Desert: including the plateau extending from the Nile Valley to the Red Sea, and The Sinai which includes Mount Catherine, Egypt's highest mountain, reaching 8,668 feet.
The Western Desert: about 68 percent of the country's total territory. It extends from the Nile Valley to the Libyan borders, and from the Mediterranean coast to the Sudan.
The Nile Valley: Egypt's main inhabited area. This fertile valley is a strip 7 to 9 miles wide along the Nile and some 6,000 square miles in the Nile Delta. The Nile's total length in Egypt is about 900 miles.
Language: Arabic is Egypt's official language. However, most Egyptians understand and speak English and French. In larger towns, the foreign visitors will encounter no difficulty in communicating with the people.
Weather: Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons to visit Egypt when mild weather prevails; temperatures vary between 60 and 80 Fahrenheit. Evenings are cool. During April, an occasional hot sand wind blows which can make sightseeing less enjoyable. The summer months are hot, 80 - 105; however, the air is dry and humidity low. In Alexandria, on the Mediterranean, the months of December through February are rainy and cold. October to April represents the best time, with water temperatures of 60 to 70 F.
Religion: Approximately 85 percent of the population of Egypt is Moslems. Most of the balance, about 9 millions is Christian Orthodox who belongs to the Coptic Church. In most cities in Egypt, mosques and churches can be found next to each other. There are also some synagogues since a small Jewish community still lives in Egypt.
Economy: Before the 1952 revolution, Egypt's economy depended mainly on agriculture. Since then, however, the country has developed its other natural resources, and at present Egypt exports oil, finished textiles, canned food, cars, and the Suez Canal is considered an important source of revenue as an average of 70 ships cross it daily and pay fees. .Tourism is a main part of the economy. In an effort to increase its cultivable land, the country is using new irrigation methods, and in parts of the desert new cities have been built.
Agriculture: The high fertility of the soil in the Nile Valley enables Egypt to grow many agricultural products, especially rice, vegetables, onion, sugar cane and fruit. Furthermore, Egypt is one of the world's main producers and exporters of long staple cotton.
Education: Education in Egypt from primary school up till university is provided free to all Egyptians. The education system is composed of four stages - primary, preparatory, secondary, and university. Primary education is mandatory and is extended to children between the ages of six and twelve.
Currency: The basic unit of currency is the Egyptian pound divided into 100 piasters. Banknotes: 25, 50 (piasters), 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 (Egyptian pounds). Silver coins: 5, 10, 20 piasters.
Egypt History
Recorded history in Egypt began around 4,000 B.C. when B.C. nomadic hunters settled in the Nile Valley. But it was in 3,100 B.C. that Egypt crowned her first Pharaoh, Menes, who later unified the country's two regions, Lower Egypt (The Delta) and Upper Egypt (from Giza to Aswan in the South). Egypt's history can be summarized as follows:
Predynastic Egypt: C 5,000 - 3,200 B.C.
Dynastic Egypt: C 3,200 - 2,700 B.C. Development of society,law and religion.
The Old Kingdom: C 2,700 - 2,600 B.C.Great achievements especially in the fields of administration, astronomy and architecture.
The Middle Kingdom: C 2,260 - 1,780 B.C. An era of prosperity and expansion of political strength and economic horizons. Thebes became the capital. Later, Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos, coming from Caucasia, who remained for 150 years until finally driven back.
The New Kingdom: C 1,580 - 1,085 B.C. Four centuries of splendor, prosperity and spiritual and artistic achievements. Architecture reaches heights.
The Decline: C 1,090 - 332 B.C. The country fell under the influence of priests. In 525 B.C. Egypt was conquered by the Persians.
The Greco-Roman Period: C 332 B.C. - 640 A.D. In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great took possession of Egypt, called himself a Pharaoh, and founded the city of Alexandria. After his death, the Ptolemaic Dynasty was founded, and Alexandria flourished. Disputes and fratricidal wars ended the Greek domination marked by Cleopatra's suicide. Afterwards, Egypt became a Roman Province.
The Coptic Period: 30 B.C. - 640 A.D. In 61 A.D. Christianity was introduced to Egypt by St. Mark who founded the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and by 190 A.D. there was a large and flourishing Christian community. After the Roman Empire was officially divided in 395 A.D., Egypt became a part of its Eastern portion, known as the Byzantine Empire whose religion was Christianity. A few years later, the Alexandria Patriarch preached a doctrine of Christianity which was rejected by the Byzantine Church. Consequently, the Coptic Christians in Egypt were persecuted by the Mel kite Orthodox.
The Islamic Period: In 641 A.D., the Byzantines were defeated by Arab Moslem armies led by Amr Ibn El-As who built his capital near present-day Cairo. Egypt became an Arab country with a Moslem majority and religious freedom was accorded to people. Later Egypt was invaded by Ottoman sultans who relied on Mamelouks (slaves) to govern the country. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Egypt but had to withdraw after his defeat at the naval battle of Abu-Kir, near Alexandria. An Albanian officer in the Ottoman service called Mohamed Ali declared himself ruler of the country, and during his reign (1805- 1849) in many fields, Egypt made tremendous progress; however, under the rule of his grandson, Khedive Ismail, the necessity for foreign capital to finance digging the Suez Canal lead to British rule in Egypt.
The 1952 Revolution: In 1952, the royal dynasty established by Mohamed Au came to an end when a group of army officers forced the abdication of King Farouk, and in 1954 Gamal Abdel-Nasser became Egypt's president. Egypt was proclaimed a republic. After his death in 1970, Nasser was succeeded by Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat who was assassinated in 1981. Mohamed Hosni Moubarak was elected to Presidency.
The Egyptian Government: Egypt is called the Arab Republic of Egypt. The system of government is democratic presidential. The president is nominated by the People's Assembly composed of 350 members and approved through popular referendum. He serves a 6 -year term and may be re-elected for further terms of office.



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