There’s no doubt about it, Egypt is one of the most fascinating places on earth! This ancient country, which is often referred to as one of the Cradles of Civilization, is an incredible contrast between old and new. You can imagine there are so many interesting facts about Egypt to know. Even the country’s geographical position is unique as it straddles the continents of Africa and Asia.
The massive and modern capital city of Cairo is home to 10 million people but situated just beyond the bustling city streets are some of the ancient world’s most notable structures, The Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. The country has one of the longest histories of any other on the planet, dating back more than 5,000 years! The earliest forms of writing, religion, government and agriculture were started in Egypt.
Today, Egypt thrives on tourism with millions of visitors every year who come for the history, the cultural experiences and the world-class attractions. There are so many places to visit in Egypt!
There’s so much to know about this amazing place, but it would be impossible to list it all here! To get you started, here are some fascinating facts about Egypt.
Fun Facts About Egypt
1. A Great and Old Pyramid
The Great Pyramid of Giza is around 4,500 years old making it the oldest of the ancient world’s seven wonders. This pyramid has passageways that have yet to be explored and if it was cut up into 12-inch cubes, it would cover the moon’s surface.
2. A Land of Two Seasons
Egypt only has two seasons, and they don’t differ much. Winter, which is from November to April, is mild but still fairly warm with cool evenings. Summer, which is from May to October, is very hot. The country only gets about 20mm of rain each year.
3. The Mighty Nile River
The Nile is the second-longest river on earth, running 4,100 miles from Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea. Without the Nile River, ancient Egyptians wouldn’t have gotten much done! It aided in agriculture, transportation and construction.
Although a flooding river might sound like a living nightmare for most people, it was a welcome thing every year in September when the banks would overflow with the rich black soil needed for farming.
Egyptians once believed that the floods were caused by the tears of the goddess Isis when she mourned the death of her husband Osiris. Of course, we now know that the flooding is caused by heavy rains and melting snow. One of the best things to do in Egypt is enjoy a Nile River Cruise!
4. Journey to the Afterlife
In ancient Egypt, death was seen as just a stepping stone in a person’s life. To prepare someone for this next step, they employed a very complex process to preserve and prepare the body so that the soul would move smoothly into the next life. Mummification and stone coffins were reserved for the very rich or for royalty.
5. A Traditional Dance
One of the most interesting facts about Egypt! Dating back to the early 1500s, the Egyptian Sufi Dance, or Tanoura, is a historic religious ritual with roots in the Ottoman Empire.
The dance is still passed down to younger generations who keep the tradition going and there are plenty of places around the country where you can see this dance performed including restaurants, nightclubs and theaters. If you are traveling Egypt seeing this is must do!
6. Cosmetics for All!
While the use of makeup is thought to have started in ancient Egypt, cosmetics were not just reserved for the ladies! Both men and women wore makeup. They made these cosmetics from plants and minerals found in their natural environment. The main reason for its use was sun protection but many people also thought it had healing powers.
7. Cat Lovers to the Extreme
One of our favorite fun facts about Egypt for cat lovers! Many people love their cats but Egyptians took their love to another level! Worshipped like sacred deities, most homes had a cat and it was treated like royalty. They were thought to bring good luck.
8. Wildlife is Plentiful
While images of big cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria, likely come to mind thinking of the landscape of Egypt, the reality is there are many wide-open spaces consisting of deserts, mountains, shorelines and wetlands that are home to a wide variety of wildlife. There are 21 protected areas in the country to help this nature thrive.
9. Beards were a Thing…or were they?
While most of the photos we see of Pharaohs show them sporting beards, the reality is they preferred a clean-shaven face. Those beards they are often depicted in were fake and only worn for religious reasons. It is said that even female Pharaohs wore these fake beards!
10. Clothing Optional
In ancient times, Egyptian children didn’t start wearing clothing until after the age of six years.
11. Ancient Grains
The bread that Egyptians once ate was so hard and course that it chipped at the teeth to the point of wearing them down.
12. Egyptian Inventions
We don’t think much about where everyday items were invented, but you’ll likely be surprised to learn that toothpaste, pens, paper, keys and locks were invented in Egypt.
13. That’s a lot of Gods
In ancient times, Egyptians believed in more than 2,000 gods because they had one for everything. They had a god for food, a god for everyday chores and a god for pretty much anything you can think of!
14. Beach Culture
While desert landscapes likely come to mind when you think of Egypt, you might be surprised to learn that some of the best beaches in the world are located on the country’s Sinai Peninsula, particularly in the southern area of the peninsula.
15. Browse a Famous Bazaar
Nestled in the heart of bustling Cairo, you can step back in time and experience market life that has remained unchanged for eons. Khan Al Khalili is a mesh of excitement, bright colours, beautiful textiles and one-of-kind souvenirs. Spices, jewelry, coffee and so many great bargains are to be found!
16. Explore Egyptian Wonders
With more than 120,000 ancient artifacts, The Egyptian Museum is a must on any trip to Cairo. The museum is more than 100 years old so it’s had plenty of time to accumulate some of the world’s most amazing collections, housing artifacts of great importance including a room dedicated to the actual mummies of some of the great Pharaohs.
17. A Spectacular Landscape during the Day and at Night
By day, The White Desert National Park is a beautiful desert landscape far from the crowds of any city. Erosion and sandstorms have created fascinating natural formations like nothing else you’ve ever seen! By night, it’s the best place in the country to observe the night sky without any interruptions from light pollution.
18. Ancient Games
If you thought board games were a fairly new invention, think again! Ancient Egyptians spent their spare time relaxing with friends over board games. Senet was the most popular game and was played for more than 2,000 years but there were also Mehen and Dogs and Jackals. Even pharaohs joined in on the fun!
19. A Diving Paradise
The Red Sea borders Egypt’s east coast for 750 miles and has been designated a nature reserve for millions of species including coral reefs. The clear waters of the Red Sea make it one of the best scuba diving destinations on earth. So if you are a snorkeling or diving fan make sure to bring a bathing suit when planning what to wear in Egypt!
20. That Egyptian Cotton
Since the early 1800s, cotton has been famously harvested in Egypt and what a fine cotton it is! Egyptian cotton is said to be the best in the world. Demand grew so high for it that it acquired the nickname White Gold.
21. A lot of Wrapping!
If you were to unravel some of the bandages of some Egyptian mummies, the linen bandages would stretch for a mile – bet this is one of those Egypt facts you didn’t know!
22. Who was Cleopatra?
Cleopatra is a famous figure in ancient Egyptian history, but contrary to popular belief, she wasn’t Egyptian at all! Although born in Alexandria, she was of Greek lineage.
23. Shaped by the Sun
The sun was worshipped by ancient Egyptians the same way the gods were worshipped. The sun played such an important role in everyday life that the shape of the pyramids was inspired by it.
24. An Untimely Death
No one knows for sure how the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun died. It was always thought that he had been assassinated until a CT scan was done on his remains and the results revealed injuries that were consistent with those that could have been inflicted by a hippopotamus.
These animals were a popular target for sport hunters in ancient Egypt and historical records indicate that the Pharaoh also enjoyed this pastime.
25. A Large Dam
The Aswan Dam, which was completed in 1970, is one of the biggest dams in the world. In fact, it’s the biggest embankment dam in the world.
Built across the Nile River, the dam is 328 feet tall and 2.1 miles long and was instrumental in preventing flooding and providing quality drinking water.
26. A Symbolic Language
Egyptian hieroglyphs are complicated! There are more than 700 symbols in this ancient language that was once used to document history and communicate. It’s also a very old language and one of the first to ever be used.
27. An Old Calendar
The ancient Egyptians invented the calendar that we use today which has 365 days. It served a much different purpose in ancient times. It was used to predict when the Nile River would flood.
28. Smart Baboons
Not only were animals worshipped in Ancient Egypt, but they were also trained to do many things. One of the strangest jobs of any animal in those times was that of the baboons. They were trained to catch bad guys! They were also trained to pick fruit, make beer and entertain their masters.
29. A Long Brewing History
Sometimes the water in the Nile River was too dirty to drink safely. Ancient Egyptians tried filtering it with wheat and other grains even when boiling wouldn’t get the water clean enough for consumption.
Of course, these grains, combined with the sun and heat, started a fermentation process. The result was something clean and tasty to drink that got you a little tipsy too.
30. Egypt has a High Literacy Rate
This is one of the most interesting facts about Egypt! Compared to many other countries in the world, Egypt has a high literacy rate. However, the country still has a long way to go to make that literacy rate equal among the sexes. Men have a literacy rate of 83% while women lag behind at 59.4%.
31. A Big Job
A lot of work went into building the great pyramids. They might look like simply triangular-shaped structures but they’re much more complicated! It took at least 20 years and 100,000 people to build the great pyramids.
32. To be Served Beyond the Grave
Earlier in ancient Egyptian history, when a pharaoh died, it was common practice to have their live servants buried with them so they could continue to serve their master in the afterlife. In later years, Pharaohs opted for statues resembling their servants instead.
33. A Very Old Prosthetic Limb
The oldest prosthetic limb in the world was discovered in Egypt. It was a wooden toe that was fitted for a woman who lived around 1000 BC.
34. A Time-Honored Tradition
It’s common practice in many cultures around the world, including western ones, but the custom of exchanging wedding rings started in ancient Egypt.
35. The Pharaoh’s Crown
We’ll end this facts about Egypt list with a fun one! You’ve likely seen depictions of Pharaohs in books or on television, but have you ever wondered what the significance of the Cobra on their crown is? It signifies the Cobra Goddess and the legend is that she protects the Pharaoh by spitting fire at enemies. Anyone except the Pharaoh strictly forbade its use.
We hope you enjoyed these fun Egypt facts! See below for more facts around the world!
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