Egypt enjoys a unique geographical location, a favorable climate, a rich
history and an incredible cultural heritage manifested in the Pharaonic, Roman, Coptic and
Islamic monuments. The country, with its marvelous pyramids and ancient architecture, has long
been a favorite destination of history buffs. In addition, the country has begun to add new
attractions to broaden its offerings to the traveler.
Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa and covers an area of 386,000 square miles.
Only about 5% of the country is inhabited along the banks of the Nile whose course stretches over
900 miles from the Mediterranean in the North to the Sudan in the South. To the West lies Libya
and to the East are the desert plateau, The Red Sea and Sinai. Egypts most fertile area is the
Nile Delta. Cairo, Egypts capital, has 16 million inhabitants, and Alexandria, the countrys
second largest city, has a population of 5.5 million.
In 1998, Egypts population totaled 66 million. About 90% of Egyptians are concentrated in the
fertile Nile Delta and live in 5% of the countrys territory44% in urban areas and the rest in
some 4,000 villages. However, during the past few years, there has been an urban migration. The
Egyptians are outgoing, warm and have a distinct sense of humor. They have respect and a liking
for foreigners, and a deep sense of tolerance for other races, religions and nationalities.
Egypt is rectangular in shape, it covers an area of 386,000 square miles. Below Cairo, the Nile
fans out in two main branchesRosetta on the West and Damietta on the East. Egypt can be divided
into the following parts:
· The Eastern Desert: including the plateau extending from the Nile Valley to
the Red Sea, and The Sinai which includes Mount Catherine, Egypts highest mountain, reaching
· The Western Desert: about 68 percent of the countrys total territory. It extends from the Nile
Valley to the Libyan border, and from the Mediterranean coast to the Sudan.
· The Nile Valley: Egypts main inhabited area. This fertile valley is a strip 7 to 9 miles wide
along the Nile and some 6,000 square miles in the Nile Delta. The Niles total length in Egypt
is about 900 miles.
One of the four great ancient civilizations, Egypt, ruled by powerful pharaohs, bequeathed to
Western civilization numerous advances in technology, science, and the arts. For the last two
millennia, however, Egypt has served a series of foreign mastersPersians, Greeks, Romans,
Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and the British. Formal independence came in 1922, and the remnants
of British control ended after World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1981 altered
the time-honored place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly
growing population will stress Egyptian society and resources as it enters the new
Arabic is Egypts official language. However, most Egyptians understand and speak English and
French. In larger towns, the foreign visitors will encounter no difficulty in communicating with
Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons to visit Egypt when mild weather prevails; temperatures
vary between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings are cool. During April, an occasional hot
sand wind blows, which can make sightseeing less enjoyable. The summer months are hot, 80 105,
however, the air is dry and humidity low. In Alexandria, on the Mediterranean, the months of
December through February are rainy and cold. October to April represents the best time, with
water temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Approximately 85 percent of the population of Egypt are Moslems. Of the remainder, about 9 million
are Christian Orthodox who belong to the Coptic Church. In most cities in Egypt, mosques and
churches can be found next to each other. There are also some synagogues since a small Jewish
community still lives in Egypt.
Before the 1952 revolution, Egypts economy depended mainly on agriculture. Since then, however,
the country has developed its other natural resources, and at present Egypt exports oil, finished
textiles, canned food, cars, and the Suez Canal is considered an important source of revenue; an
average of 70 ships cross it daily and pay fees. Tourism is also a main part of the economy. In
an effort to increase its cultivable land, the country is using new irrigation methods, and in
parts of the desert new cities have been built.
The high fertility of the soil in the Nile Valley enables Egypt to grow many agricultural products,
especially rice, vegetables, onion, sugar cane and fruit. Furthermore, Egypt is one of the worlds
main producers and exporters of long staple cotton.
Education in Egypt from primary school up till university is provided free to all Egyptians. The
education system is composed of four stagesprimary, preparatory, secondary, and university.
Primary education is mandatory and is extended to children between the ages of six and twelve.
The basic unit of currency is the Egyptian pound divided into 100 piasters. Banknotes: 25, 50
(piasters), 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 (Egyptian pounds). Silver coins: 5, 10, 20 piasters. Fluctuating
exchange rate stands now approximately at one U.S. $ = 3.45 Egyptian pounds.
Types of Trips
Historical tourism can be based around various famous archeological sites and monuments nationwide,
especially in Giza, Alexandria, the Upper Egyptian resorts of Luxor and Aswan, Sinai and the
Western Desert Oases. The many museums in the main Egyptian cities are also important components
of the historical and archeological tourism activity in Egypt.
There are also a large number of mosques, monasteries and churches built through the Coptic and
Islamic eras that are worth seeing.
In addition, Egypt possesses one of the richest therapeutic environments,
which attracts people from all over the world. There is natural mineral water, as well as
sulphuric springs that cure numerous bone, kidney, skin and digestive system diseases.
Egypt abounds in sporting clubs such as golf, equestrian,
diving, and fishing.
In addition, tourists can enjoy all sorts of water sports in the Red Sea and Sinai spas.
And, in the beautiful areas of St Catherine, Mount Moses, the colored canyon
in Sinai and the Western Desert oases, tourists can see different animals and watch immigrating
birds. Safari trips in Sharm el-Sheikh are also organized for tourists who are eager to enjoy the
simple Bedouin life.
There are splendid areas of recreational tourism on the Red Sea, the Northern
Coast and the Alexandria environs. Most coastal areas boast clear waters, coral reefs, rare fish,
white sand beaches and a moderate climate.
The Cairo International Conference Center (CICC) was established and equipped
with the latest audio-visual and simultaneous interpretation equipment. It has hosted numerous
conferences that boosted this sort of tourism in Egypt.
The main features of Egypt's modern civilization, the Aswan High Dam, the new
industrial cities, the big factories and, most recently, the giant development project in Toshka
are also an important attraction to tourists coming to Egypt.
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between
Libya and the Gaza Strip
Area-comparative: slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico
Coastline: 2,450 km
Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Terrain: vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates,
manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc
Geographynote: controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between
Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, shortest sea link between Indian
Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle
Population: 67,273,906 (July 1999 est.)
Ethnic groups: Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers)
99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%
Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94% (official estimate), Coptic
Christian and other 6% (official estimate)
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by
conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt
conventional short form: Egypt
local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
local short form: Misr
former: Arab Republic (with Syria)
Government type: republic
National Holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 23 July (1952
Constitution: 11 September 1971
Legal system: based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic
codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative
decisions); accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed MAHER al-Sayed
chancery: 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:  (202) 895-5400
FAX:  (202) 244-4319, 5131
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel C. KURTZER
embassy: (North Gate) 8, Kamel El-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo
mailing address: Unit 64900, APO AE 09839-4900
telephone:  (2) 3557371
FAX:  (2) 3573200
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white,
and black with the national emblem (a shield superimposed on a golden eagle facing the hoist
side above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) centered in the white band;
similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band; also similar to the flag of Syria
that has two green stars and to the flag of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic
inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band
Economyoverview: At the end of the 1980s, Egypt faced problems of
low productivity and poor economic management, compounded by the adverse social effects of
excessive population growth, high inflation, and massive urban overcrowding. In the face of these
pressures, in 1991 Egypt undertook wide-ranging macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform
measures. This reform effort has been supported by three IMF arrangements, the last of which expired in September 1998. Egypt's reform effortsand its
participation in the Gulf war coalitionalso led to massive debt relief under the Paris Club
arrangements. Substantial progress has been made in improving macroeconomic performance. Cairo
tamed inflation, slashed budget deficits, and built up foreign reserves to an all-time high.
Although the pace of structural reformssuch as privatization and new business legislationhas
been slower than envisioned under the IMF program, Egypt's steps toward a more market-oriented
economy have prompted increased foreign investment. The November 1997 massacre of foreign tourists
in Luxor affected tourism enough to slow the GDP growth rate for 1998 compared to earlier
projections. Tourism's slow recovery, coupled with low world oil prices, caused a downturn in
foreign exchange earnings in 1998, but external payments are not in crisis.
Labor forceby occupation: agriculture 40%, services, including
government 38%, industry 22% (1990 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10% (1998 est.)
Industries: textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, petroleum,
construction, cement, metals
Agricultureproducts: cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits,
vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats; fish
Exportscommodities: crude oil and petroleum products, cotton yarn,
raw cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
Importscommodities: machinery and equipment, foods, fertilizers,
wood products, durable consumer goods, capital goods
Currency: 1 Egyptian pound (ŁE) = 100 piasters
Telephone system: large system by Third World standards but inadequate
for present requirements and undergoing extensive upgrading
domestic: principal centers at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta
are connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth stations2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean), 1
Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat; 5 coaxial submarine cables; tropospheric scatter to Sudan; microwave
radio relay to Israel; participant in Medarabtel
total: 4,751 km
standard gauge: 4,751 km 1,435-m gauge (42 km electrified; 951 km
total: 64,000 km
paved: 49,984 km
unpaved: 14,016 km (1996 est.)
Waterways: 3,500 km (including the Nile, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo
Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in the delta); Suez Canal, 193.5 km long (including
approaches), used by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 16.1 m of water
Ports and harbors: Alexandria, Al Ghardaqah, Aswan, Asyut, Bur Safajah,
Damietta, Marsa Matruh, Port Said, Suez
Airports: 89 (1998 est.)
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command