Planning a trip to Egypt or just want to know more about the country? Start with these 67 fun facts about Egypt.
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67 fun facts about Egypt
This post is part of a series of fun facts posts I'm doing for every country I have articles about here on the blog. Given their nature, these posts are research-based and even though a lot of time has gone into them, it's still possible a mistake has snuck in. If you see something that looks incorrect, please let me know at wanderer [at] wonderfulwanderings.com and I'll look into it. Thanks!
1. Cairo is the most populated city in Egypt and it's also the capital city.
2. The official language of Egypt is Arabic, but some people also speak other languages like French and English.
3. The official name of Egypt is Junhuriyah Misr al-Arabiya, meaning “the Arab Republic of Egypt” in English. The Egyptians also refer to their country as Misr, which can be used as a substitute name for Cairo.
4. With a total estimate of about 92.1 million people, Egypt is the largest Arab country in the world. It ranks higher than Iraq and Saudi Arabia which ranks 2nd and 3rd respectively.
5. Egypt is the 15th country with the highest population in the world, with 99% of the country's people living on just 5.5% of the land.
6. Tourism is a major economic activity in Egypt, accounting for about 12% of the country's workforce.
7. By virtue of area, Egypt is the 30th biggest country in the world. It measures approximately 1,001,450 square miles, which is almost 10 times larger than South Korea.
8. The shape of the Egyptian pyramids is said to have been inspired by the sun rays. According to the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, the king's soul ascended along the sun rays to the sun god.
9. The Egyptian Flag is tricolor consisting of red, white and black colors. The red color is a representation of the struggle against the British colonialists before their independence. White represents the 1952 revolution that ended the monarchy without a war, while black symbolizes the oppression of the Egyptian under the British rule.
10. Egypt has the most Facebook users compared to any other country in the Middle East. It ranks 21st in the world, with an average of more than 20.14 million internet users. This social network highly contributed and led to the success of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
11. Gypsy is a short name for “Egyptian”.
12. Until 2015, no Egyptian president had ever left office without dying or being arrested.
13. Egyptian hieroglyphs have over 700 symbols. This ancient language was used by Egyptians to write down their history and communicate, making it one of the earliest languages to be used. Much of what people know about Egypt is as a result of hieroglyphic writing found in archeological sites.
14. Most Egyptian traditions and festivals trace their origin back to the time of pharaohs. The Egyptians also draw many traditions from their religion (Islam).
15. Located at Giza, the Pyramid of Khufu is the largest Pyramid in Egypt. Measuring 146.7 meters in height, it's one of the oldest historic sites that remain largely intact. This Pyramid is also known as the Pyramid of Cheops.
16. Egypt is largely covered by a desert, receiving only 20mm of rain per year.
17. Approximately 95% of Egypt's population lives along the banks of river Nile, which is known to be the longest river on the globe.
18. Though Egypt is 90% desert, approximately 30% of their workforce is in agriculture.
19. The ancient Egyptians mummified both human beings and animals as they believed it would allow the dead to pass safely into the afterlife.
20. Ramadan is a national celebration that runs for a whole month and is held annually. During this time, the people fast during the day when the sun is up and break their fast when the sun sets and they can party, eat and drink.
21. Id al Fitr is one of the biggest celebrations in Egypt. It comes immediately after Ramadan and the Egyptians bake special cookies and host parties.
22. Islam is the common religion with 90% of the population being Muslims.
23. The largest collection of Egyptian artifacts will be housed at the new Grand Egyptian Museum. The museum is scheduled to open sometime in the 2nd half of 2018.
24. The most popular sport in Egypt is soccer but they also take part in tennis, squash, and swimming.
25. Of all the Arab countries, Egypt is the only one that has a movie industry.
26. Started in 1996, Egypt's Royal library of Alexandria has copies of all the web pages on the internet. The library not only preserves the Egyptian history, but it's also one of the largest and most interesting libraries in Africa.
27. The highest mountaintop in Egypt is Mt. Catherine, standing at 8625 ft high (2,629m).
28. Besides Cairo, other major cities in Egypt are Alexandria and Giza.
29. Egypt is known for their two major deserts, the Libyan and the Sahara desert. These deserts cover a significant part of the country's land.
30. The pyramid of Giza is among the seven wonders of both the ancient and the modern world.
31. Landslides, Flash floods, and droughts are some of the natural disasters that affect the people of Egypt. Other common calamities in Egypt include Sandstorms, dust-storms, and windstorms, also known as “Khamsin”.
32. The Egyptian pound is the main currency in Egypt.
33. Aged over 5000 years, the oldest dress in the world is found in Egypt.
34. Egypt's national animal is the Steppe eagle. The Egyptian flag also features the eagle of Saladin, inspired by ancient Egyptian texts written all over temples to signify dignity and pride.
35. The renowned statue of liberty was intended to be installed in the land of the Pharaohs (Egypt).
36. Contrary to what most people believe, the largest pyramid in the world is not found in Egypt. It's actually found in Mexico. However, Egypt has a lot of pyramids.
37. The tradition of exchanging wedding rings traces its origin back to ancient Egypt.
38. The famous pyramid of Giza has some passageways that have never been explored. This pyramid actually has 8 sides and not four as most people believe.
39. Egypt's main exports include cotton, aluminum, food products and oil.
40. Egypt imports almost all their industrialized machinery, with their major imports being manufacturing and machinery equipment.
41. Linking the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal is controlled by Egypt.
42. Major televisions and radio broadcasting services in Egypt are controlled by the government.
43. In Africa, Egypt uses more natural gas and oil than any other country.
44. To signify dignity and stay modest, Egyptian women keep their legs and arms covered.
45. Visitors are expected to take off their shoes before going into religious buildings.
46. With only a few grasslands and forests, wildlife is not common in Egypt.
47. The pyramids were erected with stones so heavy they weigh up to 10 tons each. It is still not known exactly how this was done.
48. Egypt is the 66th most fertile country in the world. The birth expectancy rate is about 2.97 kids per woman. Niger is the top on the list, with a birth expectancy rate of 7.6 children for every woman.
49. Egypt ranks 124th in the world in terms of life expectancy. The average life expectancy is 72.66 years, with males living for about 70.07 years while the female range at 75.38 years.
50. In an attempt to conquer the frequent annual flooding of the river Nile, Egypt has one of the largest manmade dams: Aswan high dam.
51. Following the construction of the Aswan high dam, the fertile silt settled in Lake Nasser. For this reason, Egyptian farmers annually use over a million tones of artificial fertilizer.
52. The oldest surviving mathematical work in Egypt is titled “The Entrance into the Knowledge of All Existing Things and All Obscure Secrets”. This work was written by Ahmes in the 1650 B.C. its written on the Rhine mathematical papyrus.
53. The Beqa is the oldest standard weight used in Egypt. Its still used in the modern world.
54. Over four million mummies with the shape of a stork-like bird (Ibis) have been unearthed by scientists in Egypt's Western Desert. These mummies have been found near Tuna el-Gebel.
55. The three pyramids of Giza are guarded by a giant sphinx thought to be the representation of the son of Khufu, pharaoh Chephren (Khafre).
56. No one truly knows how Egyptian ancients pronounced their words. That's because the Egyptian hieroglyphs don't include any vowels.
57. The great pyramid is big enough to cover the moon up to three times if it was chopped into 12″ cubes.
58. Female circumcision is illegal in Egypt, except in cases of a medical emergency. However, female genital mutilation is still largely practiced all over Egypt.
59. 91% of Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 years have undergone female genital mutilation. This is according to the reports released by the World health organization.
60. The Ancient Egyptian religion has over 14,000 gods and goddesses.
61. An ancient Egypt inscription from their pottery work indicates that there are three human genders. However, no one knows the reason behind that conclusion.
62. The modern city of Cairo stands right up against the pyramids of Giza.
63. Egypt has the oldest prosthetic limb in the world. The wooden toe belonged to an ancient Egyptian woman at around 1000 B.C.
64. The world's oldest D20 dice was found in Egypt. It dates back to around 30 B.C.
65. There are about 2,060 square kilometers of unclaimed land in the border between Sudan and Egypt.
66. Egypt's lost city of Heracleion was discovered under the sea after 1200 years.
67. The Egyptian mummies were found to contain traces of cocaine and nicotine.
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