What can we say about Egypt? It is the land of myths and legends, ancient civilizations and the Pyramids of Giza. Egypt is an exciting country to visit with some of the most fascinating historical sites on the planet. There is more to Egypt than just the pyramids and you will see why we are going through this most interesting information about Egypt!
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Egypt is a fascinating destination. If you are planning a trip to the Middle East, this information from Egypt will help you understand the history of the ancient Egyptians and the background of the most popular attractions in the country.
Interesting facts about Egypt
Speaking of being one of the oldest civilizations, much of the best information about Egypt relates to ancient Egypt. Many of its top tourist attractions were built by the ancient Egyptians and follow many of the customs and traditions of ancient Egypt that Pharaoh and his followers of Islam followed.
1. Egypt is home to the only surviving ancient wonder in the world
The only surviving monument to the 7 ancient wonders of the world still stands in Egypt. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza, El Giza, Egypt stood the test of time. The Pyramids of Giza are located in the capital Cairo and they are as wonderful as ever. The Great Pyramid of Khufur is the largest of all the pyramids and was built in the 4th century to house Pharaoh Khufu. Today it is known as the Pyramid of Cheops.
You can’t miss the pyramids when you travel to Cairo, they can be seen from all over the city. The Pyramid of Khufur stands huge at a height of 146.7 meters (481 feet) Read more: 7 Wonders of the World – New, Natural and Ancient
2. No, the pyramids were not built by slaves
As for the pyramids, I always thought they were built by slaves. While in Cairo I learned that the pyramids were actually built by the right workers. Archaeological discoveries prove that there was a purpose-built village for the workers to live in and they were fed and well treated. The things you learn when you travel fill our little heads with lots of fun information!
Read about a great Egyptian pyramid we saw – the Red Pyramid of Egypt – experience it inside and out
3. Ancient Egypt and the afterlife
Here is some interesting information about the pyramids that were built to house the rulers of ancient Egypt and bring them and their families back to the afterlife. The pyramids were built as tombs for the pharaohs and their families.
The ancient Egyptians believed that they would have to follow strict rules for a better future. They also believed that it was up to the survivors to help them get to the next life. The mummification process took great care because the ancient Egyptians believed that the body needed to be preserved for rebirth and carried to the next life. They even mummified animals.
4. Many gods of ancient Egypt
It was hard to navigate life as an ancient Egyptian, there were many gods to please them. They worshiped hundreds of gods and goddesses and had to constantly work to keep their lives balanced and to please them all in order to secure their place in the next life. Gods have fallen into fashion year after year and just like our celebrities today. Some of the most enduring gods were Isis, Osiris and Ra – the sun god.
5. There are 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt
Did you know that Egypt also has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites? That’s right, Egypt has a lot to offer! The six sites are Abu Mena, Historic Cairo, Abu Simbel, St. Catherine, Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley in the Western Desert of Egypt) and Memphis and its Necropolis and Ancient Thebes. Have you had any of them?
We came to everyone except the two of us. We have not yet visited Abu Mena or the Whale Valley.
Memphis and its Necropolis are actually pyramidal areas from Giza to Dahshur so if you are in Egypt you have visited this UNESCO site. Ancient Thebes where you will find Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel is on Lake Nasser, historic Cairo is an obvious destination and is located at the foot of Mount St. Catherine where Moses received the 10 Commandments.
6. Mount Sinai and 10 orders
Mount Sinai is the mountain where Moses climbed to receive the Ten Commandments. Located on the Sinai Peninsula, the mountain is sacred to both Christianity and Islam. It is an important pilgrimage site and is located at an altitude of 2,285 meters (7,497 feet). Here you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Catherine which we mentioned above. Read more: Amazing historical sites of the world – which we have seen
7. The ancient Egyptians loved board games
We actually have a lot in common with the ancient Egyptians and more interesting information about the ancient Egyptians is that they also liked board games. Not only rich people play board games, but even the common people enjoy a good board game.
The most popular board games were Senate and Mehen. The Senate was a game involving throwing sticks and was so popular that even pharaohs were buried with the game to keep them in the afterlife. These board games are 5000 years old. What is your favorite board game?
8. Cleopatra was not Egyptian
Another interesting fact about Egypt is that Cleopatra, one of the most famous personalities of ancient Egypt, is actually Greek, not Egyptian. He had no Egyptian blood when he was born in Alexandria and instead was a descendant of the Ptolemaic dynasty which was a line of Greek Macedonians. The Ptolemaic dynasty ruled ancient Egypt from 323 to 30 BC. The name Cleopatra is actually Greek for “her father’s fame” or “her father’s fame”.
9. 95 percent of Egyptians live along the Nile
Did you know that the longest river in the world is located in Egypt. The Nile River flows through Egypt, and about 95 percent of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile River. While most of the country is occupied by deserts, this fact about Egypt is not so surprising. Egypt is made up of 90 percent deserts, and the Nile divides that desert.
The ancient Egyptians divided Egypt into two lands, the Desert and the Nile Valley. Contrary to what you might think, Upper Egypt is to the south and Lower Egypt to the north. Because the Nile River flows northward into the Mediterranean Sea.
10. Desert of Egypt
Egypt has three deserts, the Western Desert, (aka Libyan Desert) the Eastern Desert, (aka the Arabian Desert), and the Great Bali Sea which is a part of the Sahara Desert.
The Egyptian desert has its own ecosystem which includes several oasis, mountains, sand dunes and oil reservoirs. Our favorite desert in Egypt was the white desert in central Egypt. Read all about the White Desert here.
11. King Tut and Mummy’s Curse
King Tut is probably the most famous of all the ancient Egyptians, but little was known about the boy king who died at the age of 19 until British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922. King Toots Tomb is in the valley of the smallest of the tombs but it was full of riches.
It was believed that the hieroglyphs on the wall of King Tut’s tomb contained the curse of death. I am glad that I did not know about this curse before entering the tomb of King Tut during our visit or I could not enter this innocent tomb. Read more: Amazing places to visit in Egypt
12. Alexandria was named after Alexander the Great
Not surprisingly, the city of Alexandria was named after the Egyptian conqueror in 331 BC. One of the oldest wonders of the world, the lighthouse of Alexandria was here. Read more about the wonders of the world here: 7 wonders of the world – new, natural and ancient
13. Egypt is the border of two seas
Egypt is strategically located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Suez Canal connects the two seas, allowing ships to navigate between Asia and Europe. Egypt has been a highly strategic position for many centuries.
14. One of the largest dams in the world is located in Egypt
Egypt has one of the largest dams in the world. Aswan High Dam is the largest dam in the world, separating Egypt from Sudan across the Nile River and creating NASA Lake. Lake NASA is one of the largest reservoirs in the world.
Although it seems like a great achievement, when we cycled from Egypt to Sudan, we saw the devastation caused by this dam. At one time, Sudan was green and lush along the Nile River, and even tourists from the United Kingdom used to spend their holidays in the Wadi Halfa of Sudan. Today it is a mess because of NASA’s Lake Dam. See: We cycled across the African continent
15. Cats are sacred
True, cats were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt. And from what we see from our visits to Egypt, they are still caring and respectful. There were lots of cats hanging on the rooftop veranda of our guesthouse in Cairo with which we enjoyed hugs. Cats were supposed to bring good luck and they were so respected that when a cat died, the pharaohs mummified them. As a cat lover, I can relate.
16. The twelve month calendar was invented in Egypt
You probably don’t know it, but the calendar we use today was invented by the ancient Egyptians. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the first calendar known to mankind was invented in Egypt. In fact, it is 6264 in the Egyptian calendar.
The ancient Egyptians used our 12-month calendar as we do today. However, each month always had 30 days which means their years were a total of 360 days making the years inconsistent with the seasons. So to make up for lost time, they organize a 5 day festival at the end of each year.
17. Make-up and ancient Egyptian
The ancient Egyptians believed that makeup had healing powers that protected them from the sun and so both men and women wore makeup. The black eye paint that we know very well from the ancient Egyptian paintings was made of red and they also wore green makeup made of copper.
18. Quick funny Egyptian facts
The capital city of Egypt is Cairo and it is the largest city in Egypt. Cairo is also the largest city in the Middle East and the Arab world.
The official language of Egypt is Arabic but don’t worry, many people also speak English and if you know French it will go a long way in Egypt too.
The official name of Egypt is The Arab Republic of Egypt
As of 2020, Egypt has a population of 102.3 million.
The first humans in Egypt are 8000 years old but the ancient civilization that we know of was founded around 3000 BC.
For centuries, Egypt was under the control of the Roman Empire, the Greek Ptolemaic Empire, Muslim armies, and even the British.
Did you know that hieroglyphs, an ancient language once used by the Egyptians, have about 700 symbols? Can you imagine learning this language? Why don’t you try to go? Maybe you will be able to read some ancient signs in some tombs.
And this is some interesting information about Egypt. Did we miss anything? Have you been to Egypt, what is your favorite place in Egypt?