Egypt the Ancient Land of Pharaons

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Egypt is located in Northern Africa, and it borders the Mediterranean Sea; the country is between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula.

Map of Egypt
Map of Egypt

It has a total area of 1,001,450 sq km, most of its territory is land, and the country has 6,000 sq km of water. As mentioned before, we know that Egypt shares a border with Gaza Strip 13 km; Libya 1,115 km; Sudan 1,276 km; and finally Israel 208 km.

Egypt has dry summers with moderate winters. Furthermore, the country has several natural resources spread in its territory. Those resources are petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, rare earth elements; and finally, zinc.

Among the major lakes, we can find Lake Manzala which is 1,360 sq km
long which makes it the largest of Nile Delta lakes. Egypt also has the Nile River which they share with Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and also Sudan.

POPULATION 

It is also necessary to mention that according to estimations, 95% of the population lives within 20 km of the Nile River and its delta. According to estimations in 2021, Egypt had a total population of 106,437,241.

Egyptian population today
Egyptian population today

Regarding present ethnic groups in the territory, 99.7% of the population is Egyptian, and 0.3% belongs to other groups. The country has three languages, the main one is Arabic, but the citizens also know English and French.

Another important aspect to mention regarding population is that Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the third most populous country in Africa, behind Nigeria and Ethiopia.

A 37.85% of the population falls within the range of 25 to 54 years. The next one is 0 to 14 years with 33.62%. Then 18.01% of the population falls within the range of 15 to 24 years. Their total population growth rate positioned at 2.17% in 2021.

Moreover, it is necessary to mention that 21.750 million live in Cairo, then 5.484 million in Alexandria, and 764,000 in Bur Sa’id. Egypt spends 3.9% of its GDP on education because the literacy rate of its population of 15 years and above is 71.2%.

The main religion in Egypt is the Islam
The main religion in Egypt is Islam, but there are others 

This percentage is rather low because only 65.5% of the women of that range of years can read and write; whereas 76.5% of the male population in that range can do so. The estimations in 2019, stated that 19.2% of the population did not have a job. Of that percentage, 49.3% belonged to the women population without a job, much higher than men.

BRIEF HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT

Egypt has a presidential republic, divided into 27 governments. The country declared its independence from the UK on 28 February 1922. The United Kingdom later declared Egypt as a protectorate, but there was a military-led revolution.

The result of this revolution was the establishment of a republic and all British troops were withdrawn on 18 June 1956. The constitutional committee approved the latest constitution in 2013. To introduce amendments to the constitution it is necessary the proposal of the president of the republic or by one-fifth of the House of Representatives members.

After it, there needs to have a decision to accept the proposal that requires a majority vote by House members; passage of amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote by House members and passage by majority vote in a referendum.

The current chief of state is President Abdelfattah El-Sisi since 2014. The head of government, since 2018, is Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

To elect a president, the country has to elect a candidate by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term. The country allows a candidate to be eligible for 3 consecutive terms.

LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL BRANCHES

Regarding the Egyptian legislative branch, first, they have a bicameral Parliament that consists of the Senate and the house of representatives. Egypt has a mixed legal system based on Napoleonic civil and penal law, Islamic religious law, and vestiges of colonial-era laws.

Like most of the countries of the world; Egypt has a Supreme Constitutional Court. This court serves as the final court of arbitration on the constitutionality of laws and conflicts between lower courts regarding jurisdiction and rulings.

The second court is the Court of Cassation, which is also the highest appeals body for civil and criminal cases, and those also receive the name of ordinary justices. Then it’s the Supreme Administrative Court, which is the highest court of the State Council.

When it comes to subordinate courts we can find the Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; courts of limited jurisdiction; Family Court.

EGYPT FLAG

The Egyptian flag shares similar features with the flags of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. The flag has three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the national emblem (a gold Eagle of Saladin) centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white).

Flag of Egypt
Flag of Egypt
NATIONAL HERITAGE 

They have a total of 7 World Heritage Sites, 6 of them are cultural and one is natural. Those are Memphis and its Necropolis, Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis, Nubian Monuments, Saint Catherine Area, Abu Mena, Historic Cairo, Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley).

Memphis and its Necropolis, monuments of Egypt
Memphis and its Necropolis, monuments of Egypt
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW OF THE COUNTRY 

Egypt’s activity takes place by the highly fertile Nile Valley. President Nasser centralized the economy but the next presidents Anwar El-Sadat and Mohamed Hosni Mubarak opened it up considerably.

Furthermore, it is important to mention that Egypt’s economy is quite diverse as it extends from agriculture, hydrocarbons, manufacturing, tourism, and other service sectors. Regardless of the diversity of economic activities in Egypt, the country mainly relies on the service sector (54%) according to the GDP composition by sector of origin.

Currently, there are important factors that contribute to public discontents, like poor living conditions and limited job opportunities.

Egypt Economy is diverse
Egypt’s Economy is diverse

The population ousted Mubarak in 2011, alongside the revolutions in other countries. Regarding the Egyptian GDP which is the purchasing power parity, the estimations of 2020 place it at $1,223,040,000,000.

The GDP per capita was at $12,000 in 2020. The country was also able to lower the inflation rate quite exponentially as in 2017, it was at 29.6%, and two years later it was at 9.3%. This means that the decrease was 20.3%.

In the agricultural products that Egypt produces, we have sugar cane, sugar beet, wheat, maize, tomatoes. Egypt also produces rice, potatoes, oranges, onions, milk. On the other side, when it comes to the industry we can find that Egypt has textiles, food processing, tourism, and chemicals.

EXPORTS AND IMPORTS OF EGYPT 

The country also produces pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals, and finally, light manufacturing products. In 2020, Egypt had a total export of $40.1 billion, which represented a decrease of a little more than 13 billion; in cooperation with 2019.

This represented the effect that covid-19 had on the Egyptian economy, which affected almost all the countries in the world. The main export partners of Egypt are the United States 9%, United Arab Emirates 6%, Italy 6%, Turkey 6%, Saudi Arabia 6%, India 5%.

Egypt exports and imports a variety of products to their main trade partners
Egypt exports and imports a variety of products to their main trade partners

Egypt exports its crude petroleum, refined petroleum, gold, natural gas, fertilizers. When it comes to imports, the country also reduced them slightly from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, Egypt imported $78.95 billion whereas, in 2020, the country imported $72.48 billion.

Finally, to mention the countries that Egypt imports from we can find China 15%, Russia 7%, United States 6%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Germany 5%, Turkey 5%. Among the products that Egypt imports there are refined petroleum, wheat, crude petroleum, cars, packaged medicines.

BRIEF SUMMARY ON ELECTRICITY

The entire Egyptian population has access to electricity. Egypt produces more energy than it consumes, as the country produces 183.5 billion kWh, and consumes 159.7 billion kWh. Regarding natural gas, the country produced 50.86 billion cu m according to estimations in 2017.

This is a little less than the total amount that they consume which was a total of 57.71 billion cu m. Egypt exported 212.4 million cu m of natural gas in 2017 and imported 7.079 billion cu m.

ANCIENT HISTORY OF EGYPT

It is a well-known fact that Egypt was the home of one of the main and most famous civilizations of the ancient Middle East. It was the site of one of the world’s earliest urban and literate societies.

The Pharaons were the leaders of Ancient Egypt that thrived for some 3,000 years through a series of native dynasties; it had some periods under foreign rule. Alexander the Great conquered the region in 323 BCE, and that made urban Egypt, an important part of the Hellenistic world.

During the rule of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty, there was an advanced literate society in Alexandria. The Romans conquered the actual territory of Egypt in 30 BCE, and it remained part of the Roman Republic and Empire and then part of the Byzantine Empire, until its conquest by Arab Muslim armies in 639–642 CE.

In 1517 the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluks and established control over Egypt that lasted until 1798. This was because Napoleon I led a French army in a short occupation of the country.

FROM 1800 FORWARD

The French occupation that ended in 1801, represented the first one that a European power had conquered and occupied Egypt. It allowed further European involvement. Furthermore, the strategic location of Egypt has made the country hub for trade routes between Africa, Europe, and Asia.

France was among the foreign powers that invaded Egypt, alongside the Ottoman Empire and United Kingdom
France was among the foreign powers that invaded Egypt, alongside the Ottoman Empire and the United Kingdom

Egypt received further advantage with the opening of the Suez Canal, which connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. Finally, the United Kingdom occupied Egypt in 1882 and continued to exert a strong influence on the country until after World War II (1939–45).

The country staged a military coup that installed a revolutionary regime that promoted a combination of socialism and Pan-Arab nationalism in 1952. Later during the Cold War, Egypt’s central role in the Arabic-speaking world increased its geopolitical importance.

The reason was that Arab nationalism and inter-Arab relations became powerful and emotional political forces in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt was also affected by the Jasmine Revolution, also known as the Arab Spring.

Due to it, President Mubarak announced in 2011 that although he intended to finish his term he was not going to run in the next elections. During that year, Mubarak wasn’t able to complete his term in office, as announced by Suleiman; that he had decided to step down and leave in charge of the country the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

CONTEMPORARY HISTORY: FROM 2011 

Mohamed Morsi got elected and was in office for two years when the June 30 revolution started. The head of the Egyptian Armed Forces,  Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declared that the military was ready to intervene to prevent chaos in the country if the two sides were unable to resolve their differences within two days.

Two days later the military intervened to remove Morsi from the presidency. As mentioned before, the head of the Armed Forces, al-Sisi ran for office and won in 2014.

CULTURAL LIFE

The cultural development of Egypt is the response of this traditional system to the intrusion, at first by conquest and later by the penetration of ideas, of an alien and technology-oriented society of the West.

The Egyptian Culture has been influenced by several powers like Turkey and Greece
The Egyptian Culture has been influenced by several powers like Turkey and Greece

The result has been the emergence of a cultural identity that has assimilated much that is new while remaining Egyptian. Some countries have influenced Egyptian cuisine and those are  GreeceTurkey, and the Levant.

Regarding rural tastes, we have fūl mudammis, the mulūkhiyyah, the kuftah, the Falafel, mutton, and pigeon. Egypt has adapted several desserts from Turkish dishes and finally, coffee and tea are popular refreshments.

ARTS
Tawfiq al-Hakim wrote  Bird of the East, one of the most popular novels in Egypt
Tawfiq al-Hakim wrote  Bird of the East, one of the most popular novels in Egypt

Egypt is one of the Arab world’s literary centers and has produced many of modern Arabic literature’s foremost writers. Currently, in the modern Egyptian novel, the authors tend to use the impact of the West as a theme for their novels.

Some examples are Tawfīq Ḥakīm’s Bird of the East (1943) and Yaḥyā Ḥaqqī’s novella The Lamp of Umm Hashim (1944).

The modern theatre in Egypt is a European importation—the first Arabic-language plays were performed in 1870. The theatre was dominated by two dramatists, Maḥmūd Taymūr and Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm.

HOLIDAYS 

Coptic Christmas Day: Coptic Church recognizes January 7th as the day that Jesus was born. This is the same date as Orthodox Christmas. Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

Coptic Orthodox Christians comprise 90% of Egypt’s 20 million Christians. Egypt was almost entirely Christian on the eve of the Muslim Arab conquest around 640AD. It remained majority Christian until around the 13th century.

Coptic Christmas was declared a national holiday in Egypt in 2005 by the government of Hosni Mubarak. On the evening of 6th January, Copts observe a fast and don’t drink or eat from 3 pm until midnight.

Before Christmas, some Coptic Christians may observe a 43-day fast which they break after mass on Coptic Christmas Day. A popular dish for Coptic Christmas is Fattah, a mixture of rice, meat, and crispy bread.

National Police Day: the day marks a historic clash between Egyptian police forces and the British Occupation forces in 1952, which was called the Ismailia Battle.

The reason was that Egyptian policemen refused to hand over their weapons, and evacuate the Ismailia governorate’s building. 50 Egyptian policemen lost their lives and 80 more were severely injured. It was the spark that ended the monarchy in Egypt on July 23.

Sinai Liberation Day (April 25, 1982): Egypt commemorates the final withdrawal of all Israeli military forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, following the 1979 US-brokered Camp David peace accords.

The Camp David Accords in 1978 led to Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula.

OTHER DAYS 

Sham El-Nessim: It is celebrated on the first Monday following Easter and is related to agriculture in Ancient Egypt, which contained fertility rites that were later attached to Christianity and the celebration of Easter.

It marks the beginning of spring; making it the spring festival of the Egyptians and it then became a national holiday. It is called Sham El-Nessim because the harvest season in ancient Egypt was called “Shamo”. In Arabic, “Sham” means smell and “El-Nessim” means air.

Families start to cook their food at sunrise and then head to the park. There they can also get typical food like chives,  Fiseekh, colored eggs, lettuce, and termis. Regarding the colored eggs, the Egyptians do it because it is a custom referenced in the famous book of the pharaohs of the Dead and the songs of Akhenaten: “God is one, he created life from the inanimate and created chicks from eggs.” Therefore, the egg is a symbol of life to the ancient Egyptians.

Eid Al-Fitr: During this day, Egypt celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan. They decorate their houses with colorful streamers and other decorations, cook a large number of special foods and dishes, and make traditional sweets.

Women and girls in the family paint or adorn their hands with ‘henna tattoos’. Before moving on to the culinary and family celebrations for Muslims, the day begins with prayers in the mosque.

FURTHER HOLIDAYS

June 30 Revolution: This revolution happened due to the Worsening economic conditions, deteriorating public services, and a string of sectarian incidents which exacerbated political polarization in mid-2013.

The current president who was in charge of the army removed the acting president in that year. On July 26, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied in support of the military. After the new constitution was approved, el-Sisi ran for elections and won in 2014.

Eid Al-Adha: the second of two great Muslim festivals. Eid al-Adha marks the culmination of the hajj (pilgrimage) rites at Minā; Saudi Arabia, near Mecca, but is celebrated by Muslims throughout the world.

It begins on the 10th of Dhū al-Ḥijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and continues for an additional three days. During the festival, families that can afford to sacrifice a ritually acceptable animal, do so and then divide it equally among themselves, the poor, and friends and neighbors.

Eid al-Adha is also a time for visiting with friends and family and for exchanging gifts.

The July 23 Revolution Day: celebrated to commemorate the military coup of July 23, 1952, that led to the end of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The group of officers successfully overthrew the king in 1952 and installed a more democratic government.

The Egyptian president issues a public statement praising the revolution on the occasion of the day, and there is a celebration staged by the minister of defense.

FINAL HOLIDAYS OF EGYPT

Islamic New Year: Awal Muharram or Hijri New Year is celebrated by Muslims as the day symbolizes two important events in the Islamic year. This day is a public holiday in most Islamic countries.

Islamic New Year represents the starting point of the Muslim era as it coincides with the Hijrah; the Prophet’s journey from Mecca to Medina on the first of Muharram in 622 CE.

After the Hijrah; it was then declared by the Prophet in the Constitution of Medina that Muslims are a universal brotherhood with a unique identity in faith and ideology. It is a time for Muslims to reflect on the passing of time and their mortality.

Armed Forces Day: It marks the start of the October War; it’s one of Egypt’s most significant annual events, as the country celebrates its victory over Israel and the crossing of the Suez Canal.

On this day, the citizens commemorate the victory and pay tribute to the martyrs among the country’s military personnel. The holiday is marked by large military parades and fireworks.

Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday: Prophet Muhammad’s birthday also receives the name of Maulud Nabi in Malaysia, marked by religious lectures and readings of the Quran. Muhammad’s birth was approximately in the year 570 (in the Gregorian Calendar)

WHAT TO SEE IN EGYPT

Egypt has several sites that are famous worldwide. Those sites attract thousands of tourists every year for the history and beauty behind them. The country represents an experience and an adventure for avid tourists willing to find and visit every special place.

The profile will offer just a handful of these sites. We will start with the Egyptian Museum, the valley of kings, the temple of Ramses II, Karnak, the Sphinx; and the pyramids of Giza, Luxor Temple, Jan el-Jalili, the necropolis of Sakkara.

Then we have the Zoser Pyramid, Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the library of Alexandria, and the Colossi of Memnon. Next, we have the Temple of Edfu, File, Cairo Citadel, the Saint Catherine of Mount Sinai Monastery, and Kom Ombo Temple.

Then we have Ras Muhammad National Park, Moises Mount, Mosque of Muhammad Ali; and Mortuary temple of Ramses, Cairo Tower, Kefren Pyramid, Grand Egyptian Museum. Qaitbay Citadel, Queens Valley, Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, Al-Azhar Park, Al-Azhar Mosque, Hanging Church; and the Philae Temple.

Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza

Finally, we have the Catacombs of Kom el Shogafa, Museum of Luxor, Micerinos Pyramid, Ibn Tulun Mosque, Red Pyramid, Montaza Palace; Copto, and Nubia Museum, the Denderah Temple, and also Ramesseum.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A MEXICAN TO ENTER EGYPT

The Mexican citizens have to provide a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test and a vaccination certificate. According to the Ministry, in the certificate, the passengers will have to prove that they are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Janssen, Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm; and Sinovac or Sputnik V.

Mexican Passports
Mexican Passports

Mexican citizens require visas to enter Egypt, which can be requested upon their arrival. They also need a valid passport, provide proof that you have familiar, financial, or work ties with Mexico to the authorities to convince them that you want to return.

It is also necessary to provide proof that you have enough money to finance your time there. By 2021, a Mexican can enter Egypt with an electronic visa, alongside other 70 countries.

REQUIREMENTS FOR AN EGYPTIAN TO ENTER MEXICO 
Egyptian Passport
Egyptian Passport

The Egyptian citizens need a tourist card to travel to Mexico, and it has a valid period of 180 days. They also need a valid passport but Mexico does not require the traveler to present a negative result of the covid-19 test.

The country reserves the right to accept or deny entry to a traveler. The country just recently announced that all of the states were moving to the green light of covid-19.

This means that the states part of the country have a low infection rate and therefore don’t present a risk towards the citizens and the tourists.

MEXICO-EGYPT DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

Egypt and Mexico established diplomatic relations in 1958. In 2020, both countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between them. Their relations are characterized by diverse and permanent collaboration in several fields.

Even though their relations suffered a setback due to the pandemic, both countries organize online workshops; and literature dialogues between Mexican and other American writers with the participation of Egyptian citizens.

The relation between Mexico and Egypt keeps getting stronger
The relationship between Mexico and Egypt keeps getting stronger

Through these activities, it was possible to formally establish a relation between the “Latin” American countries and the Arab World. The Egyptian and Mexican companies continue their efforts. For example, Polymers of Mexico opened their first headquarters in Alexandria; or the fact that CEMEX Egypt participated in several projects of the Egyptian market.