Egypt Overview



Egyptian Economy
Egyptian economy depended mainly on agriculture . After the Revolution the state focused its efforts on industrialization . In accordance with cultural development . Egypt welcomes Arab and foreign investments and offers in the sphere various facilities to Arab and foreign investors . Of the most important beneficiary sectors of this economic open door policy and investment is stimulation is the tourism sector.

Egypt is probably the world's oldest civilization having emerged from the Nile Valley around 7,000 years ago, historically.

Egypt is probably one of the oldest vacation spots. Early Greeks, Romans and others went there just for fun, and to see the wonders of some of mankind's earliest triumphs.

But Egypt is much more than Pyramids and monuments. It is also Red Sea scuba diving, hot night spots, luxury hotels and five star restaurants. It's romantic cruises down the Nile on festive river boats, a night at the grand opera and it is a cultural experience like none you have ever experienced. Egypt is a land bustling with life, sound, visual beauty and excitement.

More than anything else, we want you to think of Egypt as fun. For thousands of years, it has been the playground of emperors and kings, and we hope you will take the time to find out why.


The official language is Arabic , English and French are also spoken as second languages .

1,002,000 sq km (386,874 sq miles).

67,886,000 (official estimate 2001).

Population Density
67.8 per sq km.

Cairo (El Qahira). Population: 7,388,000 (official estimate 2002).

Egypt is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean, to the south by Sudan, to the west by Libya, and to the east by the Red Sea and Israel. The River Nile divides the country unevenly in two, while the Suez Canal provides a third division with the Sinai Peninsula. Beyond the highly cultivated Nile Valley and Delta, a lush green tadpole of land that holds more than 90 per cent of the population, the landscape is mainly flat desert, devoid of vegetation apart from the few oases that have persisted in the once fertile depressions of the Western Desert. Narrow strips are inhabited on the Mediterranean coast and on the African Red Sea coast. The coast south of Suez has fine beaches and the coral reefs just offshore attract many divers. The High Dam at Aswan now controls the annual floods that once put much of the Nile Valley under water; it also provides electricity.

The northern border is the Mediterranean Sea and the southern boundary is with Sudan. On the northeastern border is Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea flanks the eastern border, while the whole of the western border is with Lybia.

Republic. Head of State: President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak since 1981. Head of Government: Ahmed Nazif since 2004.

The 454-member Majlis al-Sha’ab (People’s Assembly), which functions as the legislature, nominates the President; the nomination is endorsed by popular referendum. The president, who serves a six-year term, has executive power and appoints one or more Vice Presidents, a Prime Minister and a Council of Ministers. The Majlis al-Sha’ab is elected for a five-year term. There is also a 210-member advisory assembly, the Majlis ash-Shura

According to the 1986 census, over 94 per cent of the population follows Islam; the majority of the rest is Christian. All types of Christianity are represented, especially the Coptic Christian Church. There is also a small Jewish minority.

GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from May to September).

Most areas 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Certain rural parts still use 110 to 380 volts AC.

Full IDD is available. Country code: 20. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone
GSM Coverage is limited to Cairo, Alexandria and along the north coast line of the Red Sea from Suez to Sharm el-Sheikh and the major towns along the Nile. Network operators include ECMS-MobiNil (website: ) and Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications (website: ).

All of the hotels in Cairo have introduced fax facilities; check with the hotel concerned before traveling.

Tourists wont face any problem getting online in Egypt, every cornet you will find out internet access whether in hotels or Internet Cafes.

The postal system is efficient for international mail. Airmail takes about five days to western Europe, and eight to 10 days to the USA. There are facilities at the Central Post Office; a small fee is charged when mail is collected. All post offices are open daily 08:30-15:00 except Friday, and the Central Post Office in Cairo is open 24 hours.

The most influential Egyptian daily is Al-Ahram; others include Al-Akhbar and several weekly and periodical publications. Two daily newspapers – Le Journal d’Alexandrie and Le Progrès Egyptian – are published in French. The English-language daily newspaper is the Egyptian Gazette. The Middle East Observer is the main weekly English-language business paper.

BBC World Service (website: ) and Voice of America (website:  ) and also Nile FM (website:  )can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online

The deserts of Egypt comprise over 90 percent of the land surface but are inhabited by around 5 percent of the population.

The deserts are part of an arid region that stretches from the Atlantic coast in the west to Central Asia in the east.

The Eastern or Arabian Desert is east of the Nile Valley and extends to the Red Sea. It is far higher than the Western Desert, rising to a series of ranges, parallel to the sea, called the Red Sea Mountains. It is approximately 86,101 square miles (223,000 square km), or 21 percent of the land mass of Egypt. The Arabian Desert has two distinct areas, the northern Al Maaza Plateau, composed primarily of limestone, and the southern Al' Ababda Plateau. Water is very scarce in these areas.

The Western or Libyan Desert is much larger than the Arabian Desert, covering 332,434 square miles (681,000 square km) and comprises two thirds of Egypt. It is separated from the North African or Great Sahara by highlands and is composed primarily of Nubian sandstone and limestone. South of the Qattarah depression there is a band of north-south sand dunes that continue as far south as the Kharga Depression, where they flatten out. The Western Desert is the most arid region of Egypt.

Sinai and the Red Sea
The Sinai peninsula juts into the Red Sea creating the Gulf of Aqaba on the east and the Gulf of Suez on the west.

It is 38,125 square miles (61,000 square km) in area ( 6 percent of Egypt) with the desert in the north and granite mountains in the south. Its highest mountain peak is Gebel Katrina at 8,715 feet (2,641 meters). The central part of Sinai is the Tie Plateau.

The Red Sea
The Red Sea is 7,785 feet (2,359 meters) deep, 1,207 miles (1,932 km) long from north to south and 191 miles (306 km) from east to west. Cutting through the Gulf of Aqaba from the Dead Sea and continuing south through the Red Sea and on into East Africa is the Great Rift Valley, the juncture of the African and Arabian Tectonic plates. The Red Sea is highly saline with small tides and exquisite coral shelves and reefs.

There are six inhabited depressions in the deserts of Egypt. The Al-Kharga Oasis Depression is west of the Nile Valley town of Asyut and joined to it by a roadway. Evidence of tectonic plate movement can be seen in the escarpment walls. North to south the depression is 115 miles (185 km), east to west 9-18 miles (15-30 km). Only 1 percent of the total area is cultivated. One of the most distinctive features of the Kharga Oasis Depression is the escarpment that one must descend before arriving at the town of Kharga.

The two seas that border Egypt in the north and east have left a string of five saltwater lakes across the northern border of Sinai and the Nile

delta basin; Lake Bardawil in Sinai; Lake Manzalah, the largest of the northern lakes; Lake Burulls; Lake Idku, west of Alexandria; and Lake Maryut, the only lake of the five not directly connected to the sea by a natural channel.

Nile River
The longest river in the world, it is about 4,160mi(6,693 km) long from its remotest headstream and 3,473mi (5,588 km) from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea.

The first use of the Nile for irrigation in Egypt began when seeds were sown in the mud left after its annual flood waters had subsided. It has supported continuous human settlement for at least 5,000 years, with canals and waterworks built in the 19th cent.

The Nile is also a vital waterway for the transport of people and goods.

Lower Nile Valley (from El-Minya to El-Minya)

This area of the Nile River Valley contains a considerable mix of Christian and Coptic, Greek and Pharaonic historical sites, particularly due to its close proximity to the Fayoum Oasis.

Upper Nile Valley (from South of El-Minya to Qena)

This area of the Nile River Valley represents the Northern region of Upper Egypt (Southern). It is interesting from the standpoint that the area contains some of the oldest artifacts and the capital of the Old Kingdom, but also has a rich Christian and Islamic tradition





 Related links  
History of Egypt
Destinations in Egypt