Egypt is an extremely popular travel destination in the Middle East. Make an impressionful first impression when visiting by learning some fun facts about this great nation!
Ancient Egyptians held cats in high esteem. They believed they brought luck and were often worshiped as deities.
Ancient Egyptians used mineral-based eye makeup such as malachite and lead-based kohl to decorate their eyes – believing it had magical healing properties!
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest man-made structure in the world.
The Great Pyramid of Giza stands as one of the seven wonders of ancient world and is also the largest manmade structure ever erected on this Earth. Once used for burial of Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, its height measures 481 feet with an approximate 230-meter (750 foot) base area.
This mammoth structure weighs over 16 million tons! Its monumental stone blocks weigh 2.5 tons each and were assembled using limestone and granite from around 100,000 men over 20 years.
Scientists have long debated how the pyramid was constructed. One theory suggests that huge stones were transported directly to its site, while another suggests Egyptians used ramps to move rocks into place.
More recently, it has been suggested that the pyramid wasn’t actually made out of stone but rather was constructed using concrete; this would have saved both time and energy when building this massive structure, while providing more stable building materials for construction.
The pyramid is surrounded by a cemetery of smaller tombs for queens and other royalty; these smaller pyramids, known as mastabas, serve as satellites of the Great Pyramid.
Egypt is home to some of the most amazing natural wonders on the planet! White Desert National Park, for instance, features stunning desert landscape that used to be covered in dunes but has since been transformed by erosion into incredible natural features – an ideal way to experience nature away from all the hustle and bustle of Cairo!
Egyptians created many amazing inventions, including the 365-day year calendar and an astronomical instrument which helped predict Nile floods as well as hieroglyphic writing. Ancient Egyptians also enjoyed using make-up – painting their eyes green or black and applying mascara were common practices, believed to protect from sunrays while adding beauty.
Egypt boasts an enviable literacy rate, with 83% of adults being literate and being able to read and write. Yet female literacy rates still lag significantly behind those for men in Egypt.
2. The Aswan High Dam is the largest dam in the world.
The Aswan High Dam is an immense rock-fill dam that captures and stores water from one of the world’s longest rivers, the Nile, creating Lake Nasser in Egypt and Sudan near their border. Constructed between 1960 and 1970, it boasts a reservoir capacity of 132 km3; serving to provide irrigation water, reduce flooding risks, generate power for both countries as well as improving navigation along its waters.
Egypt has enjoyed many tangible benefits from the Aswan Dam, including an increase in food production by twofold and providing 50% of Egypt’s electricity needs. Furthermore, the dam has helped stabilize climate conditions and decrease drought incidence rates; yet its construction also had negative repercussions such as changes to water tables and salt buildup in irrigated areas, shoreline erosion, excessive aquatic plant growth below the dam, shoreline degradation and an increase in Schistosoma (bilharzia) disease incidence rates.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this stunning image of Aswan High Dam through a high-magnification lens. This symbol of human innovation boasts over 90 million cubic meters of concrete and 18 millions tons of rock used to construct it.
Historely, Egypt’s Nile River would flood annually during autumn and deposit tons of silt on their barren soils. Though attempts were made throughout history to deal with this problem, only until the construction of Aswan High Dam could floodwaters be completely controlled by man.
Aswan Dam is one of the world’s largest hydroelectric power stations and produces about 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually, powering factories, hospitals and homes throughout Egypt as well as helping reduce global warming through reduced coal usage in production of electricity. A tribute to human creativity and an unforgettable sight to behold! No doubt one of human history’s greatest engineering feats!
3. The Nile River is the longest river in the world.
The Nile River may be the longest river in the world, but there’s much more to this amazing river than meets the eye. While its length as measured from its mouth may be 2,400 miles as measured from an overhead view point, its actual course covers more than 4,187 miles over its full course length. Long rivers like this one can often stretch over thousands of miles as seasons and years change, just as with Nile itself.
Each summer, the Nile rises due to heavy rainfall in Central Africa, rising up to an elevation of approximately 50 feet in Egypt and Sudan. Once full, its waters flow into a series of cataracts (rock-strewn rapids) where its speed decreases significantly to four miles per hour.
As it nears Sudan, the Nile flows through Lake Nasser which inundates over 300 miles of its course. Above this point is savanna country which features small thorny trees and shrubs such as orchard plant acacia as well as grasses and herbs that sprout following rainfall events. As you head further north rainfall decreases further until eventually rain falls rarely and true desert is established with sparse grasses and prickly shrubs scattered along drainage lines.
Egypt was made renowned for its cotton harvest thanks to the Nile’s flooding waters nourishing fertile agricultural land along its course, serving both as an economic “highway” and providing navigation through its delta into Mediterranean Sea ports.
Early Egyptians were baffled by this river, since they knew little of its surrounding arid landscape or that its waters could flood each summer. Yet satellite images have confirmed that some form of the Nile has existed for 25 million years from Ethiopia’s Highlands through Southern Africa to Middle East countries.
Egypt is home to an array of animals and plants, many of them found in the Nile Valley and Red Sea region. Birdwatchers will find its wide-open spaces a paradise, while its 21 protected areas help ensure bird survival. Cat lovers should note: Ancient Egyptians revered cats as sacred deities – believed them to protect houses while being treated as protectors – with many Egyptian homes keeping one or even having dedicated tombs built especially for them!
4. The Red Sea is the largest sea in the world.
The Red Sea is an expanse of salty waters separating Africa and Asia, known for being biologically diverse with more species than any other marine habitat on earth.
Red Sea’s high density waters sink beneath those of the Gulf of Aqaba, creating an intricate system in which lower-salinity waters from the Red Sea migrate north while more-saline waters from the gulf travel south; this creates upwelling that brings rare fish species such as dolphins to Egyptian shorelines.
Though it may look intimidating at first, the Red Sea is actually extremely safe for divers and snorkelers alike. Indeed, its underwater landscapes have earned it the distinction of “snorkeler’s paradise”.
The Red Sea has an intriguing past. Dating back as early as 2000 BCE, ancient Egyptian maritime commerce used it for maritime trade routes as Queen Hatshepsut explored its depths. Additionally, Phoenicians utilized its trade routes on their circumnavigation of Africa around 1500 BCE.
Today, Egypt and its neighbors benefit from one of the world’s largest reservoirs: Lake Nassar is created by Aswan High Dam which spans the Nile and forms its waters with plentiful minerals and nutrient-rich waters that make up Lake Nassar. This lake serves as an ideal setting for agricultural production as well as livestock breeding programs. Furthermore, Aswan High Dam serves as a major source of hydroelectricity power in Egypt and beyond.
Ancient Egypt was an amazing civilization that produced some incredible monuments such as the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx. Additionally, Egyptians invented the 365-day calendar and had highly advanced mummification practices; their culture even produced one of the earliest peace treaties – Kadesh Peace Treaty 1259 B.C.
Modern Egypt is an exciting and captivating country. Its vibrant cities provide plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences while its people are both friendly and highly educated compared to many African nations.
Egypt is a popular tourist destination, with Cairo serving as its capital and boasting some of the region’s most iconic landmarks such as historic pyramids and temples as well as relaxing on one of Egypt’s many beautiful beaches.