13 things you don’t know about the country of Egypt
So you are considering a visit to the country of Egypt? Or you just want to learn more about this fascinating country? Then you have come to the right place In this article I will introduce you to 13 things you probably didn’t know about the country. Ready to learn more? Read on…
- Fascinating facts about the country of Egypt
- 1. Egypt is on Two Different Continents
- 2. The World’s Largest Food Court is in Cairo
- 3. It’s Home to the World’s Oldest Dress
- 4. Moses Received the 10 Commandments There
- 5. Football is a Famous Sport in Egypt
- 6. 95% of its Population Lives Alongside the Nile
- 7. It Relocated a Whole Ancient Temple in 1968
- 8. The Calendar we have Today, Came from Egypt
- 9. Egypt Holds an Impressive Collection of Coptic Art
- 10. The Largest Egyptian Temple is Over 200 Acres
- 11. Alexandria has Graeco-Roman Catacombs Below it
- 12. Red Sea Underwater is a Top Dive Spot
- 13. It Gets Over 300 Sunny Days a Year
- The Country of Egypt- Bottom Line
Fascinating facts about the country of Egypt
Mystifying pyramids, iconic sphinxes, and mesmerizing desert landscapes – that’s what comes to mind when you think of the country of Egypt. But does it really tells you the whole story?
It’s kind of frustrating that an amazing land like Egypt is seen through a narrow lens of its tourist attractions. When in reality, it’s vibrant with culture, stories, and modern progress. So let’s see beyond the pyramids – here are 13 things you don’t know about the country of Egypt.
1. Egypt is on Two Different Continents
Only a handful of places in the world can claim to be on two continents at once, and Egypt is one of them. It is located in the northeastern corner of Africa. However, what many people may not realize is that Egypt is actually on two different continents. A small part of Egypt, known as the Sinai Peninsula, is located in Asia.
The Sinai Peninsula is located to the east of the Suez Canal, which marks the traditional boundary between Africa and Asia. The rest of Egypt, including its major cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria, is located in Africa.
The fact that the country of Egypt is on two different continents is a reflection of its unique history and geography. Over the centuries, Egypt has been influenced by various cultures from both Africa and Asia, which has helped to shape its rich and diverse cultural heritage.
The Sinai Peninsula has also played an important role in Egyptian history, serving as a trade route between Asia and Africa and as a strategic military outpost.
2. The World’s Largest Food Court is in Cairo
This foodie paradise is located in the Mall of Arabia in the 6th of October City neighborhood of Cairo. Covering a whopping 41,000 square meters, this food court can seat over 4,000 people at a time. More than 25 restaurants and cafes offer everything from traditional Egyptian koshary and ta’ameya to Italian pizza, Chinese dim sum, and American hamburgers.
The Guinness World Records officially declared it the world’s largest food court in 2011, and the country of Egypt has kept the title safe ever since.
But it’s not just about the food — there is a cinema complex, karaoke rooms, bowling alleys, and play areas to keep you entertained all day long. The parking lot alone can fit more than 1,000 cars.
3. It’s Home to the World’s Oldest Dress
Don’t be fooled by modern runways — fashion was alive and thriving in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. The proof is a long-sleeved, pleated, V-neck shirt discovered in an ancient site in Tarkhan, South of Cario.
Now known as the “Tarkhan dress,” this linen garment is believed to be more than 5,000 years old. (That’s older than the first pyramids!)
It’s remarkable itself that the fabric survived all these years, but what’s even more impressive is the stitching. It’s a well-established fact that people merely draped clothes over their bodies back then, but this dress has opened up a whole new window into the evolution of dressmaking.
Today, the Tarkhan Dress is housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College London. It’s still on display; if you’re ever in town, make sure to check it out.
4. Moses Received the 10 Commandments There
One of the most iconic stories in history — Moses and the 10 commandments — took place in present-day Mount Sinai, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. According to the biblical narrative, after leading the Israelites out of slavery, Moses prayed at the top of Mount Sinai for 40 days. And then received a stone tablet engraved with the 10 commandments from God.
Mount Sinai is an important site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, and it’s been a pilgrimage destination for thousands of years. Today, it’s home to the Monastery of St. Catherine, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It also holds several important religious artifacts, several medieval manuscripts, and religious relics like the burning bush. Overall, the country of Egypt is a must-visit for anyone interested in religious history. Oh, and it’s just 10 minute drive from the airport, so even if you’re just passing through, it’s definitely worth a stop.
5. Football is a Famous Sport in Egypt
Football is by far the most popular sport in the country of Egypt. In fact, let’s just say it’s a national obsession. And the passion is clearly visible in how people celebrate (or mourn) for their team. It’s not rare to see whole cities erupt in cheers, honks, and fireworks when Egypt’s national team wins a match.
A fun fact, their national team is called “The Pharaohs,” and they have won the African Cup of Nations a record-breaking seven times.
If you’re a football fan, you’ll fit right in. And even if you’re not, you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement of the game. Just be prepared to choose a side, as every Egyptian has a favourite team, and they’re not afraid to show their love for it.
6. 95% of its Population Lives Alongside the Nile
It’s said that ‘without the Nile River, the country of Egypt would be desert.’ The river provides water for agriculture and irrigation, sustains the fishing industry, and serves as a major transportation route. So it’s no surprise that the majority of the population lives in close vicinity to the Nile and its delta region.
The largest cities, including Cairo and Alexandria, are situated along its banks. Most historical sites, like the Great Pyramids, Luxor Temple, and Abu Simbel, are near the shoreline. The delta region of the Nile is among the most fertile in all of Africa and produces a large portion of Egypt’s food.
Ultimately, this has created a unique cultural and economic landscape where the river is not just a physical presence but also a central part of people’s daily lives.
7. It Relocated a Whole Ancient Temple in 1968
One of the most incredible engineering feats in history took place in the country of Egypt when the colossal Abu Simbel temple got relocated in the 1960s. The temple was originally built in the 13th century BCE during the reign of Ramses II. After its discovery by a Swiss explorer in 1813, it quickly became one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.
But in the 1960s, the temple faced a new threat: the construction of the Aswan High Dam, which would flood the site and potentially destroy this ancient wonder. But in a remarkable international effort, 20 countries raised the fund, and a team of the world’s most renowned engineers came together to literally lift the entire temple and move it to higher ground.
The temple was taken apart into over 1000 pieces and moved 200 meters away to the higher hill. The project took eight years and was completed in October 1968 at the expense of over $40 million.
Egypt also carried out several other monument rescue projects during this period, reminding us of just how much it values its cultural legacy.
8. The Calendar we have Today, Came from Egypt
The Egyptians were the first people to develop a solar calendar, which they used to keep track of the annual flooding of the Nile River. This solar calendar consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, followed by five additional days.
While this system served them well for centuries, it eventually became inaccurate due to the leap difference. To adjust for this discrepancy, the Egyptians began to incorporate the movements of stars and eventually cracked the complicated leap-year cycle.
Over time, it influenced the calendars of the Greeks and Romans and eventually formed the basis for the Gregorian calendar that is still used today. Despite many changes over the centuries, the ancient calendar still remains an integral part of Egypt’s culture, and they follow it for the agricultural cycles.
9. Egypt Holds an Impressive Collection of Coptic Art
Egypt’s rich cultural heritage is not limited to dynastic history and archaeological sites. It also boasts a great collection of art and architecture from the Coptic period.
The Copts are Christians who have been living in the country of Egypt since the 1st century AD. Coptic art is their unique style that emerged during the 3rd century AD; it’s characterized by its intricate designs, bold colors, and elaborate symbolism.
The collection of Coptic art in the country of Egypt includes a wide range of media, such as textiles, ceramics, and illuminated manuscripts. Many of these artifacts are housed in churches and monasteries throughout the country. However, the Coptic Museum in Cairo has the most impressive collection.
Two notable pieces from the museum are the ivory comb from the Byzantine period and the icon of the Holy family from the 18th century. The museum is open to all visitors, so don’t miss the chance to see some non-Pharaonic artwork in the country of Egypt.
10. The Largest Egyptian Temple is Over 200 Acres
The country of Egypt is home to many magnificent temples, but the sheer magnitude of some of them is simply breathtaking. The Great Temple at Karnak is the largest ancient temple in the world dedicated to a single deity.
This giant complex covers an area of over 200 acres and includes multiple temples, chapels, pilers, statues, and other structures. Only Akgor Wat in Cambodia beats it in terms of land area.
The construction started around 4000 years ago and continued for 1500 years, with contributions from 30 pharaohs. They called it Ipet-isut, which means “The Most Selected of Places.” And it was dedicated to the most powerful god Amun, his consort Mut and their son Khonsu.
Visitors to the complex can explore its many fascinating features, but the Great Hypostyle Hall is the highlight. This is actually a forest of 134 gigantic pillars carved with intricate hieroglyphs, some of which are over 70 feet tall. The temple, on the whole, was built on a monumental scale, enough to give anyone an awe-inspiring experience.
11. Alexandria has Graeco-Roman Catacombs Below it
Unlike the towering pyramids of pharaohs, the city of Egypt Alexandria hides a unique underground treasure – a necropolis of Graeco-Roman catacombs. These catacombs were built in the 2nd century to serve as a large burial complex for the wealthy citizens of Alexandria.
Most probably started by a single family, but over time it expanded to become a public cemetery. The complex is called the Kom El Shoqafa, which translates to “Mound of Shards” in Arabic. It got its name from the large amounts of pottery fragments found on its grounds.
It has three levels connected by a spiral staircase, including an enormous assortment of sculptures, inscriptions, and paintings. But the interesting part is how Egyptian, Roman, and Greek styles are seamlessly blended together here.
Despite being over 2,000 years old, the catacombs are remarkably well-preserved. The top two levels are open to the public, while the bottom level has been closed due to groundwater seepage. But what’s on display is more than enough to make it a must-visit site in Alexandria.
12. Red Sea Underwater is a Top Dive Spot
The Red Sea is home to over 1,000 species of fish, 200 species of coral, towering underwater walls, mysterious shipwrecks, and countless other marine sights. Add to the list its crystal-clear warm waters and unbelievable visibility, and you can understand why marine enthusiasts flock to the country of Egypt.
The best-known sites include the Ras Mohammed National Park in Egypt, where divers can explore a maze of coral walls and caves. The Straits of Tiran offers a beautiful array of marine life, while divers can also explore the Thistlegorm, a remarkable WWII shipwreck. And let’s not forget the Blue Hole in Dahab, an ocean sinkhole featuring hundreds of rare species.
13. It Gets Over 300 Sunny Days a Year
Being a desert country, the country of Egypt doesn’t see much difference between winter and summer. It’s sunny all year round, averaging between 300 to 320 sunny days a year. The summer months, from May to October, are the hottest and the driest, with temperatures reaching over excruciating 40 degrees Celsius.
However, coastal areas such as Alexandria, Hurghada, and Sharm El Sheikh offer a cooler and more pleasant climate due to their proximity to the Red Sea.
In the winter months, from November to April, temperatures can drop to around 10-20 degrees Celsius (50-68 degrees Fahrenheit) in the north and 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the south, making it a perfect time to explore the country’s many historical and cultural sites.
The Country of Egypt- Bottom Line
With thousands of years of history, diverse culture, modern cities, amazing food, and stunning landscapes, the country of Egypt has something for everyone. You just need to look past the headlines and discover its many hidden gems.
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