Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly located in North Africa, with a part, named the Sinai, in Southwest Asia.
It is also considered located in the Middle East, which is a zone on the borders of Europe, Africa and Asia.
The country is enclosed to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the northeast by the Gaza Strip and Israel, to the east by the Red Sea, to the south by Sudan and Libya to the west.
Covering 1,001,449 km2, Egypt has a land area about 3 times as big as that of Vietnam, and with a population of 79 million people, it is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Egypt is mainly made by a big sandy and path desert which cover 95% of the territory.
It is fully crossed from South to North by the Nile River, a major River generally regarded as the longest one in the world (6,650 km long). The Nile ends by a large delta in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile Valley is known as Upper Egypt, while the Nile Delta region is known as Lower Egypt.
Despite covering only about 5.5% of the total area of Egypt, the Nile Valley and Nile Delta are the most important regions, being the country's only cultivable regions and supporting about 99% of the population.
Egypt owns the Suez Canal, a navigable waterway that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea. Build by the French Ferdinand de Lesseps, it opened in November 1869, and allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without turn around Africa.
The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Under international agreement, it may be used "in time of war as in time of peace, by every boat of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag."
Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, petroleum exports, tourism and taxes from the Suez Canal.
An estimated 2.7 million Egyptians are living abroad and supply actively to the development of their country through transfer of money (US$ 7.8 billion in 2009).
More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The tourism industry employs about 12 percent of Egypt's workforce.
The Suez Canal is now the third supply of foreign currency with an amount of around $4 billion in 2007.
Egyptian culture has six thousand years of recorded history.
Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations and for millennia Egypt maintained a stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, Middle East and other African countries.
The main touristic sites are:
- Giza, about 20 km southwest of Cairo, is the site of some of the most impressive and oldest ancient monuments in the world, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples.
- Saqqara, some 30 km south of Cairo is a vast, ancient burial ground which served as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. It features numerous pyramids, including the world's oldest standing step pyramid, as well as a number of mastabas.
- Luxor, about 500 km south of Cairo, is the site of the ancient city of Thebes and has sometimes been called "the world's greatest open air museum". It includes the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor, which stand within the modern city. On the opposite side of the Nile River lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
- Abu Simbel, about 850 km south of Cairo is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II (13th century BC). The complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s to avoid being underwater during the creation of Aswan High Dam reservoir. They are now situated on an artificial hill above the Lake Nasser.
- Alexandria is a main summer resort, due to its beaches, ancient history and Museums, especially the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a modern project based on reviving the ancient Library of Alexandria.
- Sinai Peninsula- Sinai has become a tourist destination due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs, and biblical history. Most popular tourist destination in Sinai is Mount Sinai ("Jabal Musa") and St. Catherine's Monastery, which is considered to be the oldest working christian monastery in the world, and the beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba.