Egypt spans the border of Africa and Asia, making it a transcontinental country. Egypt is famous for its incredible ancient architecture, rich culture and heritage, as well as unique landscape. Its history can be traced back further than any other country in the world, to approximately the 6th – 4th millennia BCE.
What is Egypt Known For?
Egypt is famous for its ancient pyramids, sphinx, mummies, and historical artifacts, which can still be viewed when you visit. These structures were built thousands of years ago and remain some of the most impressive man-made objects in the world. In addition to these, Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts continue to fascinate people from all over the globe. For example, The Book of the Dead is a compilation of spells and prayers that were used in funerary rituals.es
This makes it one of the most interesting countries, full of ancient landmarks and old traditions. Here are 20 fascinating things that Egypt is known for.
Cultural Things Egypt Is Famous For
In Ancient Egyptian times, mummification was used to embalm dead bodies for religious regions.
The process involved removing a person’s organs (except for their heart) and using salt to dry out their body.
Strips of fabric were used to plump up any distorted areas of the body and fake eyes were added. The bodies were then wrapped up in linen and coated in layers of resin to preserve them.
Mummies were buried in large tombs with any possessions they might need to take with them to the Afterlife. Mummification was so effective that 3,000 years later, it’s still possible to identify the bodies.
Egypt is known for being a strongly religious country. Religion is extremely significant in Egyptian culture and almost everyone identifies as religious. Approximately 90% of the population is Sunni Muslim and the remaining 10% is Christian.
Egyptian constitution declares that Islam is the official state religion and the basis of law. However, individuals are subject to different laws depending on their personal religion.
The only recognized religions are Sunni Islam, Christianity, and Judaism but a small number of people follow other denominations.
Belly dancing originates in Egypt. This type of dancing involves moving your hips and torso in isolation from the rest of your body. The most recognizable moves are rotating the hips in a figure of eight, tilting the hips, and shimmying. It’s more difficult than it looks and a fantastic ab workout!
This old tradition remains popular around the world and is often performed at parties by both women and men in Egypt. In 2004, foreigners were banned from working as paid belly dancers to avoid the dance losing its authenticity. However, the ban was removed within a year.
Friendly People And Hospitality
Egypt is famous for having some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The locals are passionate about sharing their beautiful country with visitors and are welcoming hosts, known for inviting strangers into their homes for food.
If you get lost and need directions, people will be eager to help you out. Tourism is a large part of Egypt’s economy, comprising 15% of its GDP. 9.5% of jobs are within the tourist industry.
When you take a trip to Egypt, it’s important to respect the local customs and laws, which are different from those in Western countries. It’s polite to dress modestly and refrain from public displays of affection. It’s also illegal to drink alcohol anywhere outside of licensed restaurants.
Egypt Famous Food
Food is an important part of Egyptian culture and will be a highlight of your visit. The typical Egyptian diet is generally healthy and based on meat, vegetables, bread, and rice. Spices are a staple in Egyptian cooking.
One of the most popular dishes that Egypt is known for is koshary, which is a mixture of rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, and tomato sauce. Another staple is kofta, made from grilled minced beef or lamb, onions, and spices. Cow feet, or kawaree, wrapped in a vine leaf is also a delicacy.
A favorite amongst the delicious desserts in Egypt is baklava – layers of pastry drenched in honey or syrup.
Landmarks and Attractions Egypt Is Famous For
The Egyptian Pyramids
The most famous things in Egypt are the ancient pyramids, which were built as burial chambers. There are 118 pyramids in total but since Sudan gained independence from the country, only 38 are officially in Egypt.
Although some have been preserved over thousands of years, most are in ruins or buried beneath desert sands. Archaeologists have found many human remains inside.
The best-known pyramids are in Giza, Cairo. The biggest is The Great Pyramid, which is 138.5 meters tall. Despite their age and wonderous appearance, many tourists are surprised to discover that the pyramids are very close to modern civilization and can be viewed from many hotels and restaurants in Giza.
The Egyptian Museum
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is also known as the Egyptian Museum. It opened in 1901 in the center of Cairo and is the Middle East’s oldest archaeological museum. It displays over 120,000 items discovered from Ancient Egyptian times, dating from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era.
Some of the most exciting displays in the museum are the statues of King Tutankhamun, King Akhenaten, and several mummies. The museum also has an interesting range of sarcophagi (coffins), boats, furniture, and coins.
It’s open daily to the public and is an essential part of any trip to explore the most famous things in Egypt up close.
The Great Sphinx
The Great Sphinx is another important landmark in Giza and one that Egypt is known for around the world. This ancient statue dates to approximately 2558-2532 BC.
The vast limestone stature has the body of a lion and the head of a human, its face represents Khafre, a Pharoah of the 4th Dynasty. Sadly, its nose was broken off and stolen thousands of years ago. The sphinx faces exactly East and is 20 meters tall and 73 meters long.
Abu Simbel Temples
Abu Simbel is a small village near the Sudan border. The famous temples were excavated from two vast rocks in the mountains in the 13th Century BC. The main statue portrays a Pharoah, Ramesses II, with his family depicted in smaller carvings at his feet.
Like many monuments from Ancient Egypt, the temples were buried under desert sand over time and rediscovered by archeologists.
The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1968, the temples were relocated to an artificial hill to avoid being destroyed by the Lake Nasser reservoir.
The River Nile
The Nile is Africa’s longest river, which feeds into the Mediterranean Sea. Previously, Egypt was known for having the longest river in the world. However, the Amazon River was found to be 105 kilometers longer in 2007 research by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.
The river is the main water source in Egypt and Sudan. Most of the civilization in Ancient Egypt was based along the banks of the river which sustained its own economy in fishing and agriculture.
The Red Sea
The Red Sea divides Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Its name refers to the vibrant color of the trichodesmium erythraeum plant, or sea sawdust, that grows on its shores.
This tropical habitat is warm all year long and is home to a vast range of corals and sea life – making it a fantastic spot for scuba diving. The sea is so salty that it’s much easier to float in than other oceans.
The Red Sea is a crucial global trading route. In the past, it played a vital role in the spice trade and now accounts for approximately 30% of container traffic in the world. It’s home to the Suez Canal, which made headlines in 2021 after a large container ship got stuck sideways and blocked all trade passage for six days.
Traditions and History Egypt Is Known For
Hieroglyphics were used as writing in Ancient Egypt and are thought to be one of the earliest forms of written language. The script included over 1,000 characters, including many symbols representing people, plants, and animals. Hieroglyphics were written on papyrus, thick material like paper.
Hieroglyphics have been found which date to 28,000 BC but the script was used up until the Roman era. The language was lost for thousands of years until the 1820s when it was successfully deciphered by Jean-François Champollion, using the Rosetta Stone.
Original Hieroglyphics can be seen in many places around Egypt. Some of the most impressive displays are at Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, and the Tomb of Queen Nefertari.
One of the biggest exports Egypt is famous for is Egyptian cotton. It’s been produced in the country since the start of the 19th Century.
Egyptian cotton is known to be the softest on Earth and is used to manufacture luxury bedding and towels. It’s made from the Gossypium barbadense species of the cotton plant, which has extra-long, fine, fibers that create an extremely soft weave. It also lasts much longer than regular cotton which gives it a higher price tag.
The Ancient Egyptians Invented Calendars
Something you might not know that Egypt is famous for is the invention of calendars. The ancient Egyptians created the solar calendar based on the cycle of the sun and climate conditions. The flooding of the river Nile marked the start of each year.
They first worked out a 13-month annual calendar, before discovering the lunar year could be split into 365 days, with 30 days per month.
The lunar calendar was so accurate that it could recognize leap years. It became the basis of the Gregorian calendar which was developed in 1582 by Gregory XIII and is still used today. The ancient Egyptians were ahead of their time!
The Arab Spring and Egyptian Crisis
The Arab Spring was a series of political uprisings across the Middle East in 2010. It began in Tunisia because of corruption and economic troubles. The protests then spread to Egypt, among other countries, evolving into The Egyptian Crisis from 2011 – 2014.
Mass civil unrest resulted in thousands of deaths. Hosni Mubarak, who had been the president since 1981 and was involved in corruption scandals, was forced to resign. Mohamed Morsi was briefly elected to power but was removed by a coup.
The revolt ended when Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became the president, but the election was suspected to be undemocratic, and the effects are still felt politically and economically.
Famous People In Egypt
The most famous people in Egypt are those who are no longer alive but played an important role in the country’s history.
Pharaohs were monarchs in Ancient Egypt. They owned the land, created laws, and oversaw religion. Pharaohs wore decorative headdresses, crowns, and kilts. The most famous Pharaoh was Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut. Tutankhamun ruled from 1332 until 1323 BC, despite being a child.
His tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb was almost fully intact and included many of King Tut’s personal treasures. His jewelry, furniture, and clothing are available to view in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
King Tut’s tomb remains in its original place and is open to the public. The Pharaoh’s mummy is still there to see over 3,000 years after he was buried.
One of the most famous people in Egypt today is Mohamed Salah – one of the world’s best football players. He was born and raised in Nagrig, a village in Egypt, and has been given the nickname “The Pharaoh” by his adoring fans.
His career began playing for Egyptian youth teams, before progressing to the Egyptian Premier League and representing the country at the 2012 Olympics. He is the captain of the Egypt national football team, although the team has not had much success internationally.
Salah’s big break came when he signed with the Swiss club, Basel, followed by the English club, Chelsea. Mo signed with Liverpool for a historic £36.9million transfer in 2017 and scored 32 goals during the Premier League season – a world record.
Cities And Travel Destinations Egypt Is Famous For
Sharm El Sheikh
An interesting thing that Egypt is known for is being transcontinental – straddling the continents of Africa and Asia. Sharm El Sheikh is a beautiful coastal city on the Sinai Peninsula, which is over the border in Asia. The name means “bay of the Sheikh”.
It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt for a relaxing beach holiday because it’s a reliable location for hot weather, enjoying temperatures between 22°C and 38°C all year round.
The bay has such natural beauty that planning laws are in place limiting the height of buildings so as not to spoil the views. When you visit, you’ll love snorkeling in the coral reefs in Ra’s Nasrani or exploring the local nature reserves.
The capital city of Egypt is Cairo, on the river Nile in the North of the country. Cairo is one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the African content and is home to 21.3 million people.
Cairo began as Qāhirat al-Mu’izz in 973. Jawhar Al Saqili established the ancient city, which took four years to build. It was created as a palace city – a home for royals and the wealthy. It wasn’t until the late 12th Century that the Egyptian working classes came to live and work in Cairo.
Since the 1950s, the city’s population has soared from around 3 million to over 16 million. Now, it’s a popular tourist destination with a thriving economy, and you will get to uncover many incredible Cairo facts when you visit.
The port city of Alexandria is another bustling tourist area, on the Mediterranean in the South of Egypt. It has a population of almost 4.5 million people, which has doubled over the past 25 years. It is the wettest city in Egypt and is prone to stormy weather.
The earliest record of humans living in the area dates to approximately 2500 BC and the ancient city was created by its namesake, Alexander the Great, in 331 BC.
Most of the ancient city has been destroyed in wars but some interesting landmarks still standing include the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, and the recently unearthed remains of Roman baths and an amphitheater at Kom El Deka.
Discovering More Things Egypt Is Famous For
There are so many famous things in Egypt because of its long and fascinating history. Although Egypt dates back thousands of years ago, many of its ancient landmarks and attractions are still standing and available to see today.
The modern country also has a lot to offer, with its thriving tourist economy, delicious food, and many museums. The best way to find out more things that Egypt is known for is to visit yourself!