TOP-50 interesting facts about Egypt and Egyptians
Egypt is a typical Arab country that shares many common features with its neighbouring countries. But at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In this article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Egypt.
50 most amazing facts about Egyptians and Egypt
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. Egypt is considered one of the cradles of human civilization. The first people appeared here more than 100,000 years ago.
2. The ancient civilization owes its emergence to the Nile, more precisely to its annual floods. These floods delivered fertile river silt to the desert land and made possible the development of agriculture.
3. The ancient name of Egypt, Ta-Kemet, translates as Black Land, after the colour of the Nile silt.
4. The first mythical ruler of Egypt is considered to be the world-creator god Ptah. After him other gods of the Egyptian pantheon ruled – Osiris, Ra, Seth and others. But really the first pharaoh who has united Upper and Lower Egypt, Narmer who ruled approximately for 3 thousand years B.C. is considered.
5. During the reign of pharaohs in Egypt there were about 10 capitals, most often the main city of the country became Memphis.
6. After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, the country was ruled by the Greek dynasty of the Ptolemies. To this dynasty belongs the famous Cleopatra, the last queen of the great power.
7. After the decline of the Pharaonic era, the country was repeatedly invaded by neighbouring stronger states: ancient Rome, Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire.
8. Egypt became an independent state in 1922, first a kingdom and later a republic.
9. From 1958 to 1961, Egypt and Syria were a single state entity, the United Arab Republic.
10. Egypt is one of the few countries in the world that lie on two continents and in two parts of the world at the same time. Most of it is in Africa and the smaller part is in the Sinai Peninsula, which belongs to Asia.
11. The modern capital Cairo is a relatively young city. It was founded only in 969 AD. It is now the third most populous city in Africa and the largest Arabic-speaking metropolis in the world.
12. Cairo is a beautiful and modern city, but it has a whole neighbourhood called the Trash Quarter. Coptic Christians live there, and they are mainly engaged in cleaning the streets of the Egyptian capital.
13. Cairo is still the nominal capital of the country, but since 2015 the construction of a new capital 30 kilometres away from it is in full swing. It does not have an official name yet, but according to plans the New Capital will be inhabited by more than 5 million people.
14. The official language of the country is Arabic, and Islam is the main religion of the republic. However, about 10 per cent of the population professes Orthodoxy.
15. The tallest building in the country has been the Cult Tower in the New Administrative Capital since 2022. Its height has already exceeded 393 metres, which is 60 metres more than the El Kubra television mast.
16. The Suez Canal was the world’s first man-made structure to connect the two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian. It was opened to shipping in 1869 and significantly shortened the sea route from Europe to India and the rest of Asia.
17. Egypt has no large lakes, and the only exception is the Aswan Dam Reservoir. It covers an area of 5,250 square kilometres, which is larger than the total area of Lake Chudskoye and Lake Pskovskoye.
Inventions of the Ancient Egyptians
18. Ancient Egypt used a special kind of writing – hieroglyphics. It was invented more than 5 thousand years ago. Each hieroglyph denoted one word, and so there were more than 6 thousand of them. To remember all hieroglyphs was very difficult and scribes in Egypt were respected and rich people.
19. The ancient Egyptians were the first to invent books, which were made of sheets of papyrus, the oldest substitute for paper.
20. To Egypt, we owe the appearance of the first cosmetics. Egyptians began to use special creams to protect the skin from sunlight several millennia BC. They also invented the first toothpaste.
21. The wig also comes from Egypt. The Egyptians themselves shaved their heads and began wearing wigs to protect them from the sun. The richer the Egyptian was, the more luxurious wig he could afford.
22. Medicine was well developed in Ancient Egypt. They knew about the properties of natural antibiotics and were able to perform even complex surgical operations, such as curing cataracts.
23. Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, two were in Egypt. These are the now destroyed Alexandria Lighthouse on Foros Island and the famous pyramids of Giza, guarded by the ancient Sphinx.
24. The Pyramids of Giza are not the only pyramids in Egypt. Archaeologists count about 130–140 objects, which are characterised by them as pyramids. But among them, the pyramids of Giza are the largest. The height of the pyramid of Cheops is 146 metres.
25. The oldest pyramid found is 30 kilometres from Cairo and is the tomb of Pharaoh Djoser. It has a stepped shape, a height of 62 metres and was built 4700 years ago.
26. The statue of the Sphinx at the Great Pyramids was called Abu al-Hawl by the Arabs, i.e. the Father of Terror. The circumstances of its construction are still a great mystery. Especially, archaeologists are confused by the fact that the face of the Sphinx has characteristic features of the Negroid race, to which the Egyptians never belonged.
27. The largest number of tombs of pharaohs and other dignitaries of Ancient Egypt, 63, were found in the Valley of the Kings, located 500 kilometres south of Cairo.
28. The most famous treasure found in the tombs of the pharaohs was and still is the treasure of Tutankhamun, discovered in 1922 by archaeologist Carter in the Valley of the Kings.
29. The largest temple of Ancient Egypt is considered to be the Karnak Temple, now located near the city of Luxor, and formerly belonging to Thebes, one of the capitals of Egypt. It is a whole temple complex, in the centre of which is the temple of Amon-Ra, the Sun god.
30. One of Egypt’s iconic landmarks is the Abu Simbel Rock, near the border with Sudan. There is a majestic temple carved into it, the entrance to which is surrounded by four statues of Pharaoh Ramses and the gods Amon, Ra and Ptah.
31. The world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts is in the collection of the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo. It numbers more than 160,000 specimens.
Character and customs of the Egyptians
32. When meeting each other, Egyptians do not merely shake hands, but press their hands with their other hand, and when well acquainted, press their cheeks together or kiss.
33. If an Egyptian invites you into his house, it is obligatory to refuse first. If the invitation to visit is made sincerely, the Egyptian is sure to repeat it.
34. It is customary to take oriental sweets or candies with you to a guest. It is not allowed to refuse a treat when you are a guest – it can cause a mortal offence.
35. Egyptians prefer white colour in clothes, it reflects sun rays better, and it is easier to bear the heat. But women in the country traditionally dress in black. Men explain this choice of colour by saying that a woman in black will return home faster.
36. There are many restrictions for women in a Muslim country: they are not allowed to look in the mirror or fix their hair in the street, talk to strangers, or let men into the house. Therefore, if a plumber or an electrician comes to an Egyptian house, a woman leaves the door of the house wide open.
37. According to the Koran, Egyptians can have up to four wives if they can afford it financially. Each wife must live in a separate flat, and a new wife may be taken only with the consent of the previous ones.
38. The Egyptians are very superstitious. They do not like to be praised too much, and children are specially scolded and made to look in an unsavoury light. After sunset, Egyptians do not cut their hair and do not clean the house.
39. Egyptians are very resourceful and resourceful. For example, they often build buildings without roofs, because according to Egyptian laws you have to pay property tax only if the house has a roof.
40. The Egyptian Bedouins have a funny wedding custom: a girl who has been wooed must treat the groom with tea. If the tea is with sugar – it means the consent of the girl, if without – refusal.
41. Egyptians do not eat beetroot, using this root crop only for feeding livestock. Therefore, such dishes as herring under a fur coat are unacceptable for locals.
42. Egyptians like to put things off until tomorrow. And they do it so regularly that it is very difficult to achieve from them what they promised: the necessary tomorrow does not come.
43. Almost 96 per cent of the country’s land area is desert, with the remaining 4 per cent coming from the Nile valley and delta and the coast.
44. We are accustomed to thinking that the entire desert in Egypt is the Sahara. The Egyptians themselves divide their deserts into the Libyan Desert and the Arabian Desert. The Libyan Desert lies to the west of the Nile, the Arabian Desert to the east.
45. The islands of life in the desert are oases. There are several hundreds of them in the country, but the most picturesque is Siva, which lies 50 kilometres from the Libyan border. This oasis is traditionally inhabited by the Berbers, one of the indigenous peoples of the country.
46. The Red Sea is considered one of the cleanest in the world, because it does not flow into any river, and therefore there is no pollution from industrial enterprises. That is why the sea has such clear water, which attracts divers from all over the world.
47. The Sinai Peninsula is famous for its thermal springs. There are not only the Moses Springs, which are popular with tourists, but also the Hamam of the Pharaohs. This is a hot hydrogen sulphide lake in a cave, the temperature in which can reach +72 degrees Celsius.
48. In the past, the Egyptians treated cats with great care. Special servants were even appointed to serve them. The goddess of the hearth, Bast, was depicted with the face of a cat. Dead cats were mummified and buried in special tombs. The modern Egyptian Mau cat breed is descended from ancient cats and has not changed much over several millennia.
49. The largest predator of the country is considered to be the Nile crocodile. This reptile reaches 4 metres in length, but is currently found only in the southern parts of the country.
50. One of the symbols of the state is the steppe eagle, the sacred bird of Saladin. It is depicted on the national emblem of the country. The steppe eagle is a protected and scarce species that inhabits North Africa and almost all of Asia.
Friends, if you know any more interesting facts about Egyptians and Egypt, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!