EGYPT - CAIRO
THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
• The capital city of Egypt is Cairo and it is the largest city in Egypt. Cairo is also the largest city in the Middle East and the Arab World.
• The official language of Egypt is Arabic but many people also speak English and French.
• The first humans in Egypt date back to 8000 years but the ancient civilization that we have come to know was established around 3000 BC
• The only remaining monument of the 7 ancient wonders of the world is still standing in Egypt. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza, in El Giza, Egypt has stood the test of time. The Pyramids of Giza are located in the capital city of Cairo and are as awe-inspiring.
• Egypt is also home to seven of the UNESCO World Heritage sites? That’s right, Egypt has a lot to offer! The 7 sites are Abu Mena, Historic Cairo, Abu Simbel, Saint Catherine, Wadi Al-Hitan, (aka Whale Valley in the western desert of Egypt) and Memphis and its Necropolis, and Ancient Thebes.
• Mount Sinai is the mountain that Moses climbed to receive the 10 commandments. Located in the Sinai Peninsula, this mountain is sacred in both Christian and Islamic religions. It is an important pilgrimage site and stands at 2,285 meters ( 7,497 feet) high. It is here you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Saint Catherine Monastery.
• 95 Percent of Egyptians Live Along The River Nile
• Many of Egypt’s top tourist attractions were built by the ancient Egyptians and many of the customs follow the ancient Egyptian traditions that were followed by the Pharaohs and their religion of Islam.
• The Pyramids Were Not Built By Slaves. The pyramids were built by proper laborers. Archaeological discoveries proved that there were purpose-built villages to house the workers and they were fed and treated well.
• The Pyramids were built to house the rulers of ancient Egypt and ferry them and their families into the afterlife. The pyramids were made as tombs for the Pharaohs and their families
• Ancient Egyptians believed that they had to follow strict rules to have a good afterlife. They also believed that it was up to the living to help them get to the afterlife. Great care was taken in the mummification process of bodies because the body needed to be preserved to be reborn and be ferried to the afterlife so they even mummified animals.
• Pyramids Were Used As Pharaoh Tombs. These massive polyhedrons were used to house the bodies of the wealthy and powerful, and thought to help send the pharaohs to the next life. The Pharaoh's mummies would be surrounded by riches for the afterlife, like the amazing golden mask of Tutankhamen which is now in Cairo's Egyptian Museum.
- • Back then, the Ancient Egyptians used headrests made from wood, ivory or alabaster, often very elaborate in form that were an essential part of an Egyptian household's sleeping arrangements and were taken to the tomb for use in the afterlife.
• Ancient Egyptians Loved Board Games
• Another interesting fact about Egypt is that Cleopatra, one of the most famous figures from ancient Egypt, is actually Greek, not Egyptian. While she was born in Alexandria she had no Egyptian blood and was instead a descendant of the Ptolemaic Dynasty which were a line of Greek Macedonians. The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled ancient Egypt from 323 to 30 BC. The name Cleopatra is actually Greek for “Famous in Her Father” or “Her Father’s Fame”
• There are three deserts in Egypt, the Western Desert,(aka the Libyan Desert) the Eastern Desert, (aka the Arabian Desert), and the Great Sand Sea which is a portion of the Sahara Desert.
• Alexandria Was Named After Alexander The Great
Not surprisingly, the city of Alexandria was named after the conqueror of Egypt in 331 BC. One of the ancient wonders of the World, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was here.
• King Tut is probably the most famous of all the ancient Egyptians, but very little was known about the boy king who died at the young age of 19 until British archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb in 1922. King Tut's Tomb is the smallest of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings but it was filled with great wealth.
• Egypt is located in a strategic location between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Suez Canal connects the two seas allowing for ships to easily sail between Asia and Europe.
- • Did you know that the longest river in the world is located in Egypt. The Nile River cuts through Egypt and about 95 percent of the population of Egypt resides along the Nile River. With much of the country being occupied by desert, this fact about Egypt isn’t all that surprising. 90 percent of Egypt is made up of desert and the River Nile divides that desert.
• The deserts of Egypt have their own ecosystems consisting of several Oasis, mountains, sand dunes and oil reservoirs.
• One Of The World’s Largest Dams is located in Egypt. Egypt is home to one of the world’s largest dams. The Aswan High Dam is the world’s largest embankment dam, spanning across The Nile separating Egypt from Sudan and creating Lake Nassar. Lake Nassar is one of the world’s largest reservoirs.
- • It’s true, cats were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt. Cats were thought to bring good luck and they were so revered that when a cat died, the pharaohs had them mummified.
• The Twelve Month Calendar Was Invented In Egypt. The calendar that we use today was invented by ancient Egyptians so the first calendar known to humankind was invented in Egypt. In fact, it is the year 6264 in the Egyptian calendar.
• Ancient Egyptians believed that make-up had healing powers that protected them from the sun and therefore both men and women wore makeup. One of the minerals used for this makeup was malachite, a copper ore that produces green powder. The Egyptians used it as eye makeup along with kohl, a black powder made from the lead ore galena. To color their lips, the Egyptians used red ochre, or clay rich in iron oxide.
- • The hieroglyphs, an ancient language once used by the Egyptians, has about 700 symbols.
• Mummification Required A Lot of Bandages. The mummification process would use up to 1500 meters of thin strips of cloth. In between the many layers, priests would place small jewels and items to help them in the next life.
• With recipes dating back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, Egyptian food is one of Africa’s most unique and fascinating cuisines. Egyptian cuisine can open your palate to a wide range of diverse and mind-blowing flavors, from the rich and filling to the sharp and spicy.
Take for instance the Foul Mudammas/Medames and Taameya (Fava Beans Stew and Falafel) a slow-cooked fava beans stew. It is the most popular breakfast food in Egypt for most families and can be served as whole beans or mashed. The most common toppings added to it include cumin, lemon, oil, pepper, salt, parsley, onion, and butter.
• Music was as important to the ancient Egyptians as it is in our modern society. Although it is thought that music played a role throughout the history of Egypt, those that study the Egyptian writings have discovered that music seemed to become more important in what is called the ‘pharaonic’ period of their history. A great number of instruments were used in Ancient Egypt, known from iconographic, textual, and archaeological sources.
• Egyptian modern clothing includes a wide range of fashion for both men and women. Most men wear a galabia or dishdasha (traditional white cotton tunic with long sleeves and slit on the sides) and a keffiyeh (headscarf). Women usually wear hijabs of different designs and colors to match their outfits.