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
Cairo, Egypt's capital, has about 18 million inhabitants, and Alexandria,
the country's second largest city, has a population of about 6.5 million.
In 2004, Egypt's population totalled 76 million. 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.
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 Westem
Desert and Libya, and the East is bordered by a desert plateau, Red Sea and
Sinai. The Sudan is on Egypt's southern border and to the North lies the
Mediterranean. Only about 4 to 5 percent of this 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.
Arabic is Egypt's official language. However, most Egyptians understand
and speak English and French. In larger towns, the foreign visitor will
encounter no difficulty in communicating with the people.
Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons to visit Egypt when mild weather
prevails, temperatures vary between 60ø and 80ø Fahrenheit. Evenings are
cool. During April, an occasional hot sand wind blows which can make
sightseeing less enjoyable. The summer months are hot, 80ø-105ø; 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 60ø to 70ø F.
Approximately 85 percent of the population of Egypt are Moslems. Most of
the balance, about 9 million, are Christian Orthodox who belong 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.
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 also considered an important source of revenue as an
average of 50 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 des ert new cities have
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 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.
The basic unit of currency is the Egyptianpound divided into 100 piastres.
Banknotes: 25,50 (piastres), 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 (Egyptian pounds). Silver
coins: 0 and 25 piastres. Fluctuating exchange rate stands now at one
U.S. $ = 5.80 E.P.
The Egyptian Government
Egypt is called the Arab Republic of Egypt. The system of govemmentis
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.