About Egypt
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About Egypt

The stunning, colossal monuments of Ancient Egypt never fail to astonish. The heat, sight and the light of the desert invigorate. The cool, turquoise waters rejuvenate. A romantic cruise along the world's longest river dazzles the senses. A first class getaway resort in the Red Sea Riviera is pure escapism. No place has the magic, mystery and pleasures of Egypt.
Egypt is home to a multicultural society. Ethnic Egyptians constitute 95% of Egypt's total population whereas Egypt's minorities include Nubians, Berbers (Siwa Oasis), Bedouins, Arabs, Turks, and Greeks, additionally to small tribal communities: the Bejas and Doms. The former are concentrated in the south-eastern corner of Egypt, and the latter live mostly in the Nile Delta and the Fayoum oasis which are progressively becoming assimilated into bigger cities as urbanization increases.

The Egyptians, from all origins, are known for their welcoming attitude towards tourists. If you respect the local customs and traditions, and avoid offending anyone, especially in places of worship and remote locations where some old traditions are maintained, you are sure to spend an unforgettable holiday in Egypt.

The country is divided into 4 main geological areas:

- Nile Valley and Delta: this region extends on both sides of the Nile from the southern limit of the river going through Aswan, Luxor, to reach Cairo, then ramifying to the north and encompassing the destinations of Damietta and Rosetta. These ramifications, north of Cairo form the Nile Delta, Egypt's most fertile agricultural land.

- Western Desert: Extending from the Nile Valley in the east to the Egypt-Libyan border in the west and from the Mediterranean coast in the north to the southern Egyptian border, it is one of Egypt's most arid regions. Sparsely inhabited yet charming oases – Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra, Kharga and Dakhla – dot this region that covers 2/3 of the country's total land area.

- Eastern Desert: this region lies between the Nile Valley to the west, the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez to the east, Lake Manzala to the north and the Sudanese border to the south. This arid region embraces the Red Sea Mountains chain, reaching an altitude of over 900 metres above sea level at some points. The region is Egypt's richest in natural resources. Its underground treasures include gems, coal and oil.

- Sinai Peninsula: a triangularly shaped plateau linked from its north-western corner to Egypt's mainland, at the Gulf of Suez. The peninsula is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. This area is divided into a southern section (encompassing Mount Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt rising about 2640 m above sea level), the middle section and the northern section.

The People

Egypt is home to a multicultural society. Ethnic Egyptians constitute 95% of Egypt's total population whereas Egypt’s minorities include Nubians, Berbers (Siwa Oasis), Bedouins, Arabs, Turks, and Greeks, additionally to small tribal communities: the Bejas and Doms. The former are concentrated in the south-eastern corner of Egypt, and the latter live mostly in the Nile Delta and the Fayoum oasis which are progressively becoming assimilated into bigger cities as urbanization increases.

The Egyptians, from all origins, are known for their welcoming attitude towards tourists. If you respect the local customs and traditions, and avoid offending anyone, especially in places of worship and remote locations where some old traditions are maintained, you are sure to spend an unforgettable holiday in Egypt.

The Culture

There is no such thing as a unified "Egyptian Culture", for the simple reason that Egyptians form a multicultural society, where modernity and western customs flirt with traditions, where religious practices are moderate but where religion is still deeply anchored in the everyday life of the Egyptians...

However, Egyptians from all social strata, religious beliefs, or ethnic origins share a remarkable attachment to important social values, such as:

Family: Egyptians consider their family as an integral entity which they have to protect. Don't be surprised to notice that an Egyptian feels responsible for his whole family and the behaviour of his siblings, his parents, his cousins, etc.

Friendliness and Humour: Egyptians are known to be the most funny, friendly and helpful nation of the Middle East. They will go out of their way to help you in any troublesome situation, always with a smile. If you're sensitive to their humour, which is renowned world-wide, you'll be surprised to see how far a smile or a joke can take you in Egypt.

Sports: and most of all, Football! Egyptians love playing but also watching football. The biggest and most popular national football clubs are Ahly and Zamalek, both of which are based in Cairo.

Folkloric Dances: Egypt is famous for its authentic and beautiful heritage of customs and traditions. Those are especially observed in the religious events and during the month of Ramadan.

Egypt is also known for the varied forms of folk art and dances, proper to each region of the country. While inhabitants of Suez, Ismailiya and Port Said are famous for group dances accompanied by music played on the traditional "semsomiya" (an old traditional string instrument), the southern population of Al-Saeed are known for their "logging" and equestrian inspired dances. Nubian dances are probably the most colourful and joyful folkloric performances; Nubians wear colourful costumes and dance to the enticing rhythms of Nubian songs. The folkloric Sinai dance is one where the dancers wear beautiful hand-embroidered dresses and perform a sword-dance.

Moreover, Egypt is a lively artistic scene, world famous for its music, film, theatre, and TV industries. And although it could be considered as having a bigger impact on the Middle East and the Arab countries than it does on the Western world, it is important to underline that Egypt has contributed to the world cultural heritage through iconic figures such as the 1988 awarded Nobel Prize for Literature Egyptian author, Naguib Mahfouz, the acclaimed movie director, Yousef Chahine, the Egyptian actor Omar Sherif, and the most famous Arabic diva of all times, Umm Kolthoum, only to name a few.

Egypt has also given the world acclaimed scientists and thinkers such as Ahmed Hassan Zuweil, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and Sir Magdy Yaacoub, an acclaimed surgeon, a heart transplantation specialist and renowned professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College in London.
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