Situated on the northeast corner of Africa along the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt borders Libya on the west, Sudan on the South and Israel and the Red Sea on the east. Egypt holds a strategic position as a transcontinental nation. It holds a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) that connects Africa and Asia which can be crossed by a waterway, the Suez Canal. It also connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea.
The Nile River divides the landscape of Egypt into two asymmetrical and very arid regions. The Nile originates 100 miles (161 km) south of the Mediterranean and flows northwards, to a sea front between the cities of Port Said and Alexandria. Most of Egypt is a desert with some oases sprinkled about. Portions of the Sahara Desert and the Libyan Desert occupy the country, with winds giving rise to sand dunes rising more than 100 feet (30 metres) high.
A majority of the people of Egypt live near the banks of the Nile River, the location of the only arable land found in the country. Most of the roughly half of the country’s population resides in urban centers like Cairo, Alexandria and other cities situated on the Nile Delta. Egypt has been inhabited continuously since the tenth millennium making it a modern state with the longest running history in the world. Tourism is a vital part of the country’s economy due to the rich cultural heritage of Egypt. The monuments of Giza Necropolis, and the Great Sphinx, along with the ancient ruins like the ones found in the Valley of the Kings and Thebes draw crowds from around the globe.
Typical Egyptian cuisine includes ful medames for breakfast. It is a stew of beans that have been soaked for 24 hours and seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, boiled eggs and olive oil. Traditionally they are served with pita bread. Another commonly consumed meal is koshary, which is made with macaroni, lentils, rice, garlic, onions and spicy tomato sauce. It is typically sold by street vendors and is a hefty meal good for any time of the day. Mahshi Hamam, roasted pigeon stuffed with rice and herbs is another local favorite. For those with a sweet tooth, baklava is a favorite option. It is made of layering thin pastry sheets filled with nut and honey in between.
Land Area: 384,344 sq. mi (995,451 sq. km)
Monetary Unit: Egyptian pound
Official Language: Arabic