Introduction to Egypt

Egypt is an explorer’s playground with magic and mystery at every turn; from the imposing monuments of Ancient Egypt and the desert’s vast plains to the renowned life-filled clear waters of the Red Sea and the world’s longest river, the Nile. Coupled with tales of some of history’s biggest hitters like Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, the country’s 5,000 year-plus history lives on today.

Located in the northeast of Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt covers over 1 million square kilometres and borders the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, Libya and Sudan. A 79 million-strong population is densely concentrated along the Nile in cities such as capital Cairo; ancient Luxor; Aswan, where the Nile is arguably at its most beautiful; and Port Said on the Mediterranean coast.

Egypt is divided into 4 areas: the agriculturally rich Nile Valley and Delta; the sparsely inhabited (except for the oases settlements) and notoriously arid Western Desert covering two-thirds of the country; the resource-rich Eastern Desert, which includes the arid Red Sea Mountains; and the triangle-shaped plateau, Sinai Peninsula, in the northwest including the tallest mountain, Mount Catherine, at 2,640 metres above sea level.

Egypt has gone through phases of invasions and eras of glory dating back to 3100 BC with the start of the Paranoiac Era and continuing on to the Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras before the Ottoman Rule (1517-1882), French Invasion (1798), and British Colonisation (1882-1952) before becoming a republic in 1952. It hasn’t been all clear sailing since then, with the 6th of October War in 1973 and the January popular Revolution against the government in 2011 and a military coup causing recent unrest in 2013. On the brink of ancient and modern, Egypt is a democratic-based republic and the official religion is Islam.

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