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Egypt is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia.

Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west. Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its over 81 million people live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers, where the only arable land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta. Monuments in Egypt such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx were constructed by its ancient civilization. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, and Karnak and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study. The tourism industry and the Red Sea Riviera employ about 12% of Egypt's workforce. The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service at almost equal production levels.

(19221953)

(19531958)

(19581972)

As a result of their conditional independence from Great Britain in 1922, the Egyptian royal family issued a Royal Decree establishing a national flag. This first flag was a major step for Egypt, and its colors were green with a white crescent and three stars in the middle.The next version of the flag was established in 1958 by Presidential Decree, to incorporate aspects of Syria and Egypt, since they were merged into one country, the United Arab Republic. This new flag had three colors: red, white with two green stars, and black. The rectangular flag had a width of 1/3 the size of itslenght.The flag was changed once again in 1972, with an amendment to the law. This new flag had the stars removed, and replaced with a golden hawk. The hawk was replaced in 1984 by the golden eagle of Salah El Dine, the Ayubbid Sultan of the Crusades who ruled Egypt and Syria in the 12th century. This flag still waves over Egypt today.

(19721984)

(1984 present)

Due to the aridity of Egypt's climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses only about 5.5% of the total land area. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea. Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt's landscape is desert. Winds create prolific sand dunes that peak at more than 100 feet (30 m) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara Desert and of the Libyan Desert. Towns and cities include Alexandria, the second largest city; Aswan; Asyut; Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital and largest city; ElMahalla El-Kubra; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu;Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm el Sheikh; Suez, where the Suez Canal is located;Zagazig; and Al-Minya. Oases includeBahariya, elDakhla,Farafra, el Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.

Most of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months. South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm, mostly between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim,Sidi Barrany, etc. and rarely in Alexandria. Frost is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt.Temperatures average between 27 C and 32 C in summer, and up to 43 C on the Red Sea coast. Winter temperatures average between 13 C and 21 C. A steady wind from the northwest helps lower temperatures near the Mediterranean coast. The Khamaseen is a wind that blows from the south in spring, bringing sand and dust, and sometimes raises the temperature in the desert to more than 38 C. Prior to the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Nile flooded annually replenishing Egypt's soil. This gave the country consistent harvest throughout the years. The potential rise in sea levels due to global warming could threaten Egypt's densely populated coastal strip and have grave consequences for the country's economy, agriculture and industry. Combined with growing demographic pressures, a significant rise in sea levels could turn millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the century, according to some climate experts.

The official language of the Republic is Modern Standard Arabic. Additionally, Greek, Armenian and Italian are the main languages of immigrants. In Alexandria in the 19th century there was a large community of Italian Egyptians and Italian was the "lingua franca" of the city. The main taught foreign languages in schools are English, French, German and sometimes Italian. The historical languages include the Egyptian languages consisting of ancient Egyptian and Coptic, and form a separate branch among the family of Afro-Asiatic languages. The Koine" dialect of the Greek language was important in Hellenistic Alexandria, and was used in the philosophy and science of that culture, and was also studied by later Arabic scholars.

Islam - Egypt hosts two major religious institutions, the


Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria established in the middle of the 1st century by Saint Mark the Evangelist, and Al-Azhar University founded in 970 CE by the Fatimids as the first Islamic University in the world. Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion. Around 90% are identified as Muslim. Islam plays a central role in the lives of most Egyptian Muslims. The Adhan (Islamic call to prayer) is heard five times a day. Cairo is famous for its numerous mosque minarets and is justifiably dubbed "the city of 1,000 minarets". Cairo also comprises a significant number of church towers. Islam arrived in the 7th century, and Egypt emerged as a center of politics and culture in the Muslim world. Under Anwar Sadat, Islam became the official state religion and Sharia the main source of law.

Christianity
There is a significant Christian minority in Egypt, who make up between 5% and 10% of the population. Over 90% of Egyptian Christians belong to the native Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox Church. Other Egyptian Christians are adherents of the Coptic Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church of Egypt and various other Protestant denominations. Christian communities are largely found in the urban regions of Cairo and Alexandria. Coptic Christians are minimally represented in law enforcement, state security and public office, and are being discriminated against in the workforce on the basis of their religion. They are also the victims of discriminatory religious laws, anti-Christian judges, and anti-Christian state police.

Egyptian culture has six thousand years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizatons and for millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and other African countries. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenism, Christianity, and Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in ancient Egypt. Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is Africa's largest city and has been renowned for centuries as a center of learning, culture and commerce. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab Bibliotheca Alexandrina is World. Some Egyptian born politicians were or are at the helm a commemoration of the of major international organizations like Boutros. Egypt is a ancient Library of recognized cultural trend-setter of the Arabic-speaking world, Alexandria in Egypt's second and contemporary Arab culture is heavily influenced by largest city. Egyptian literature, music, film and television. Egypt gained a regional leadership role during the 1950s and 1960s, which gave a further enduring boost to the standing of Egyptian culture in the Arab world.

The Egyptians were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art and architecture. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaohs followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Egyptian civilization is renowned for its colossal pyramids, temples and monumental tombs. Well-known examples are the Pyramid of Djoser designed by ancient architect and engineerImhotep, the Sphinx, and the temple of Abu Simbel. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene, from the vernacular architecture of Hassan Fathy and Ramses WissaWassef, to Mahmoud Mokhtars sculptures, to the distinctive Coptic iconography of IsaacFanous. The Cairo Opera House serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Egypt's media and arts industry has flourished since the late 19th century, today with more than thirty satellite channels and over one hundred motion pictures produced each year. Cairo has long been known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East;" its annual film festival, the Cairo International Film Festival, has been rated as one of 11 festivals with a top class rating worldwide by the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations.

Egyptian music is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. In antiquity, Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, including two indigenous instruments: the ney and the oud. Percussion and vocal music also became an important part of the local music tradition ever since. From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, while Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other festivities.

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