15 Egyptian Facts You Need To Know Before Visiting
Egypt is famous the world over for its incredible history of pharaohs, pyramids, mummy’s and more. So if you are visiting this incredible and historical country, find out some amazing facts right here!
Egypt has a population of 87million, and is in fact the most populated country in the Middle East and the 15th most populated in the world today. Around 99% of the population all live in only 5% of the country, which is in incredible considering Egypt is the 29th biggest country in the world in terms of area!
2. The Sahara
Part of the reason as to why so many people live in a small portion of the country, is the vast Sahara desert. Covering an area of 9.4million sq. km. it is the largest hot desert in the world (Antarctica and the Arctic count as deserts too!), and is the same size as the USA. In total it covers vast stretches of 11 countries and takes up around one quarter of the entire African continent.
3. Desert Wildlife
Although you may think of the Sahara as an oven devoid of life apart from the odd camel, but it actually supports a large variety of flora and fauna. There in the ‘lushest’ part of the desert, you can find over 1,000 species of plants as well as 40 different species of animals and over 200 species of birds, not to mention the insects and reptiles.
4. Egypt-Sudan Border
Amazingly, between the borders of Egypt and Sudan respectively, there is a vast section that remains unclaimed by either country. This is largely due to the fact that it is an inhospitable region that is practically uninhabited, and therefore of little to no use to either country.
5. Ancient Gods and Goddesses
Ancient Egyptian history, or Egyptology, is one of the most fascinating tales of the ancient world and is one of the best documented of the ancient civilisations. But did you know that the ancient Egyptians worshipped over 2000 different gods and goddesses?! That’s a hefty number by anybody’s reckoning.
So you can’t talk about Egypt without mentioning its world famous pyramids. A few facts that you may not know are that the biggest pyramid in the world is in Mexico, Sudan has more pyramids even that Egypt’s impressive number of 130, and that the pyramids weren’t built with slave labour, but with workers paid in beer! The Great Pyramid of Giza, which still contains unexplored passages, is on the 7 Wonders of the World.
7. Egyptian Presidents
The role of Egyptian president was established in 1953 following the Egyptian Revolution in 1953. Since then, there have been 9 presidents, but did you know that all but one of them (the current one) have been assassinated or imprisoned thus ending their role!
8. The Nile
The Nile is the longest river in the world at over 6800km long, and one of the most famous too. It is not only the primary water source in both Egypt and Sudan, but it also flows through 9 other countries too. This river was of great cultural importance during the Ancient Egyptian times, and most of the historical sites are found along it.
The Nile is also known for its thriving crocodile population, and the Nile crocodile is the second largest reptile in the world after its saltwater cousin. Ranging from 2.5-5m in length, this fearsome crocodile reportedly kills hundreds of people each year and is a common site to behold on the Nile.
10. Mount Catherine
Mount Catherine, also known as Gebel Katherina, is the tallest mountain in Egypt at over 2,600m in height. Located in the southern tip of the part of the country that is in the Asian continent, it is near the city of Saint Catherine where a monastery is also located.
11. Ancient Egyptian Inventions
The Ancient Egyptians are famed for many things, not least for their inventions, many of which are still used today. Some of their inventions include: eye make-up, sailing boats, pens, paper, locks and keys, and toothpaste! They also independently came up with their complex writing system of hieroglyphics too.
Just 2.5km off the Egyptian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, the underwater ruins of the great city of Heracleion were discovered in 2000. Believed to have sank in the 2nd or 3rd century AD, scholars have been aware of its existence but simply didn’t know where to find it. Once an international port and trading hub, earth tremors are blamed for its sinking.
Cairo is one of the most well-known and visited of the Egyptian cities, and it is in fact its capital city as well as its largest one too. Boasting incredible Islamic architecture, the biggest metro system in Africa, and pyramids right beside the city, it is an awe-inspiring place to visit and enjoy learning more about this fascinating country.
14. The Flag
The current Egyptian flag was adopted in 1952 and consists of three bands of colors from the Arab Liberation flag - red, white, and black, with the golden eagle of Saladin on the white band. On the Egyptian flag, black represents oppression, red represents the bloody struggle against oppression, and white is symbolic of a bright future. Abuse of the flag in any way is forbidden in Egypt too.
The national dish of Egypt is kushari, also spelled as koshari, kosheri or koshary, and has been around since the 19th century. Prepared with rice, macaroni and lentils all together, then topped with a sauce made from tomatoes and vinegar, it is garnished with chickpeas and crispy onions and still remains a popular dish today.