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Egypt: the most fascinating civilizations of antiquity

Egypt (Misr al-Jumhuriya al-‘Arabiya) is a presidential republic of northeastern Africa, which also includes the Sinai peninsula in Asia. The country is washed by the Red Sea to the east and by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is bordered to the north-east by Israel, to the south by the Sudan and to the west by Libya.

Cradle of one of the first human civilizations the Egyptian one developed between 3.300 B.C. and 525 B.C., whose monuments after more than 4,000 years still impress millions of tourists, who come to visit them. The country still has today as in the past its center on the river Nile, where the cultivated and inhabited areas are situated, coinciding with the Nile valley.


The river Nile is 6,671 km long and has a basin area of 2,867,000 sq km. It is the world’s longest river and crosses Egypt from south to north for about 1,500 km. The Egyptian territory is mostly desert. West of the Nile valley lies the Libyan Desert, a sandy desert occupying almost 60% of the country.


Only where the groundwater reaches the surface oases like Siwa, al-Fayyum, Kharijah, Dakhilah, Bahriyah and Farafirah are to be found and interrupt the monotony of the desert. In this part of the country exists the Qattâra depression with a depth of 133 metres below sea level. It is the second lowest point of Africa only after Lake Asal with 155 meters below sea level, located in the small country of Djibouti.

East of the Nile valley is the Arabian Desert, a mountainous desert, which reaches 2,000 meters, extending between the Nile and the Red Sea, while on the southern border with the Sudan lies the Nubian desert formed by sand dunes and plains. Here a huge dam forms the reservoir Lake Nasser, an artificial lake being 480 km long and 16 km wide and covering 12.900 sq km.

Beyond the Suez Canal, built between 1859 and 1869, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, exists the Sinai peninsula as a part of Asia. It is largely mountainous and has the highest peak of Egypt: Mount Catherine/ Catherine Gebel with 2,637 meters.


The country has considerable revenue from tourism: by artistic-cultural tourism, attracted by Egyptian monuments of ancient civilizations (Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings) and by holiday tourism, attracted by the bathing resorts like Hurgada, Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab and Naama Bay and in particular by the underwater beauty of the Red Sea.

The agricultural sector is the driving force of the economy. Crops are found along the Nile Valley and in the Nile delta. The main crop is cotton, but cereals, sugar cane, vegetables, citrus fruits, dates and peanuts are also cultivated. From the subsoil resources like oil, phosphate, natural gas and iron ore are extracted. Among the industry the textile industry is the most important, but those of tobacco, sugar, chemicals, steel and mechanics are also important.

Climate of Egypt: when to go

Official page of the Egyptian government.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 1,001,449 sq km: arable land 3,5%, uncultivated and unproductive land 96,5%
  • Population: 99,500,000 (as for 2019): Egyptians 98%; Berbers, Nubians, Bedouins, Beja 1%; Greeks, Armenians, French and Italians 1%.
  • State Capital: Cairo.
  • Official Language: The official language is Arabic. English and French are used with people from the outside world.
  • Religion: Muslims 90%, Coptic Orthodox Christians 9%, other Christians 1%
  • Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)
  • Time Zone: UTC+2 hours, in summer UTC+3 hours.

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