Egyptian Profile
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Egyptian Profile

Location & Area

Egypt is located in the heart of the world. It is the point of convergence of the three old continents Africa, Asia and Europe. It also overlooks the Mediterranean and Red Sea along with the two Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. On its lands the Suez Canal, one of the most important international waterways, is running. The River Nile, the lifeline for Egyptians, also flows throughout its territory. The Nile enjoys a special status in the hearts of the Egyptian people.

Geographic coordinates

Latitude: 2700 North of the Equator

Longitude: 30 00 East of Greenwich

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in the north-eastern corner of Africa and south-western Asia. The total area of the Arab Republic of Egypt reaches nearly 1.002.000 m². Administratively, Egypt is divided into 27 governorates. Each of the governorates is subdivided into urban and rural areas.

Topography

Egypt is 50 feet below sea level. The highest point is Catharine Mountain that is 8,668 feet high. The lowest point is Qattara Depression and is 436 feet below sea level. Egypt is divided into four major parts: The Nile Valley and Delta, The Western Desert, The Eastern Desert and The Sinai Peninsula. Both the Nile Valley and the Delta occupy about 33,000 km2, accounting to less than 4% of the total area of the country. The Western Desert occupies an area of about 671,000 km2. The Eastern Desert occupies about a quarter of the total area of Egypt, (some 225,000 km2). The Sinai Peninsula occupies about 61,000 km2.

Language

The official language of Egypt is Arabic. A few foreign dialects are also spoken in Egypt and these include English and French.

Egyptian flag

The flag of Egypt is a tricolour consisting of the three equal horizontal red, white, and black bands with a golden hawk in the middle.

National Day

Egypt National day, also known as Revolution Day, commemorates the 1952 Revolution and the establishment of a republic government in the country. It is celebrated every July 23rd.

Currency

The Egyptian pound is the currency of Egypt.

Climate

Egypt’s climate is influenced by many factors, the most important of which are the location, the landscape, the general pressure system and the law-pressure areas. They all contributed to dividing Egypt into distinguished climatic regions. Egypt lies in the dry arid region except for the northern region which enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It is hot and dry in summer and moderate in winter with little rain which increases on the coast. Egypt has only two prominent seasons: a moderate winter from November to April, and a hot summer from May to October. Temperature average is between 11 and 24 in January, and between 21 and 42 in July and August.

The Capital

Cairo is the capital of Egypt, the cradle of civilization and the beacon of religion. Established more than a thousand years ago, Cairo is Egypt’s capital city and also the most populous city in Africa and the Arab World with about 10 million residents. The city is located in Lower Egypt which is a section of Egypt encompassing the fertile Nile delta and the land between Upper Egypt and the northern Mediterranean coast. Cairo is at a distance of 165 km to the south of the Mediterranean coast. It lies 120 km to the west of the Suez Canal. The city is based along the banks of the world’s longest river, the Nile River. The city proper lies on the Nile’s eastern bank and the metropolis spreads out in all directions. At its heart is iconic Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts. Nearby, Giza is the site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating to the 26th century BC. Other attractions include Coptic Museum, Islamic Museum, Al Azhar Mosque, Cairo Citadel, Khan el-Khalili, Sultan Hassan Mosque and Babylon Fort.

Main cities

Main cities include Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Port Said, Al-Mahalla AlKobra, Luxor, Al-Mansoura, Tanta, Al-Zagazig, Assuit, Al-Minya, Aswan, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Marsa Matrouh and Marsa Alam.

Population

The current population of Egypt is 104,200,000 according to 2017 census.

History

Ancient Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh of the First Dynasty, Narmer. Predominately native Egyptian rule lasted until the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century BC. In 332 BC, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great conquered Egypt as he toppled the Achaemenids and established the Hellenistic Ptolemaic Kingdom, whose first ruler was one of Alexander’s former generals, Ptolemy I Soter. The Ptolemies had to fight native rebellions and were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its final annexation by Rome. The death of Cleopatra ended the nominal independence of Egypt resulting in Egypt becoming one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. Roman rule in Egypt (including Byzantine) lasted from 30 BC to 641 AD, with a brief interlude of control by the Sasanian Empire (619 – 629), known as Sasanian Egypt. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, parts of Egypt became provinces of successive Caliphates and other Muslim dynasties: Rashidun Caliphate (632-661), Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), Abbasid Caliphate (750–909), Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171), Ayyubid Sultanate (1171–1260), and the Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517). In 1517, Ottoman sultan Selim I captured Cairo, absorbing Egypt into the Ottoman Empire. Egypt remained entirely Ottoman until 1867, except during French occupation from 1798 to 1801. Starting in 1867, Egypt became a nominally autonomous tributary state called the Khedivate of Egypt. However, Khedivate Egypt fell under British control in 1882 following the Anglo-Egyptian War. After the end of World War I and following the Egyptian revolution of 1919, the Kingdom of Egypt was established. While a de jure independent state, the United Kingdom retained control over foreign affairs, defense, and other matters. British occupation lasted until 1954, with the Anglo-Egyptian agreement of 1954.

The modern Republic of Egypt was founded in 1953, and with the complete withdrawal of British forces from the Suez Canal in 1956, it marked the first time in 2300 years that Egypt was both fully independent and ruled by native Egyptians. President Gamal Abdel Nasser (president from 1956 to 1970) introduced many reforms and created the short-lived United Arab Republic with Syria. His terms also saw the Six-Day War and the creation of the international Non-Aligned Movement. His successor, Anwar Sadat (president from 1970 to 1981) changed Egypt’s trajectory, re-instituting a multi-party system, and launching the openness economic policy. He led Egypt in the War of 1973 to regain Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967. President Hosni Mubarak took office in 1981 after his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, is assassinated. Following Mubarak’s resignation on 11 February 2011 in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the office was vacant, with the functions of head of state and head of government being discharged by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Mohamed Morsi took office on 30 June 2012. On 3 July 2013, following massive protests calling for his resignation, he was succeeded by Adly Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, as Acting President. Mansour was sworn into office in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court on 4 July 2013. Current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi took office on 8 June 2014. During his term, Egypt embarked on a mega development process that gained momentum through the establishment of giant national projects in the agricultural, industrial and construction fields. He was re-elected for a second term in office in the presidential that took part in March 2018.

Egypt knew modern policy (constitution, government, parliament, administrative authorities) more than 150 years.

Constitution

Egypt is known for having one of the earliest administrative and legislative codes in history. Egypt’s constitutional experience started under Mohammed Ali Pasha in the 19th century. The bylaws of 1866 were a step towards devolving governance in Egypt away from the hands of a single ruler. In 1882 under Khedive Tawfik, a constitutional document was drafted and it paved the way for the 1923 constitution. After the outbreak of the June 30 Revolution in 2013, there was a need for outlining a new constitution to complete building a modern and democratic state of Egypt, maintain public freedoms and safeguard the homeland against any threats that would jeopardize its national unity. The Egyptian constitution proclaims the Arab Republic of Egypt to be a democratic state. It recognizes public and private ownership and guarantees the equality of all Egyptians before the law.

The Executive Authority

The President

The President of the Republic is the head of State and the head of executive power. He shall care for the interests of the people, safeguard the independence of the nation and the territorial integrity and safety of its lands, abide by the provisions of the Constitution, and assume his authorities as prescribed therein. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a period of four calendar years through a direct and secret ballot, commencing from the day following the termination of the term of his predecessor. The current President is Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who assumed office 8 June 2014 and was re-elected for a second term commencing June 8, 2018.

The Government

The government is the supreme executive and administrative body of the State, and consists of the Prime Minister, his/her deputies, the Ministers, and their deputies. The Prime Minister shall head the government, oversee its work, and direct the performance of its functions. The President of the Republic assigns a Prime Minister to form the government and present his program to the House of Representatives. If his government does not obtain the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives within no more 30 days, the President appoints a Prime Minister based on the nomination of the party or the coalition that holds a plurality of seats in the House of Representatives.

The Legislative Authority

The Parliament (House of Representatives): Egypt knew parliamentary life 150 years ago. Most historians agree that the first assembly that can be compared to a Western parliament was established in 1866 by Khedive Ismail (1863-1879). Along such period, Egypt’s parliamentary history witnessed various evolutions and names to its parliamentary councils, starting from the High Council, the Consultation Council, the Advisory Council of Laws, then adopting the two‐council system (senate and representatives) upon adopting 1923 Constitution, then returning to the one‐council system upon July 23, 1952 Revolution. As of 1979, the two‐council system was adopted. Following the approval of the 2014 Constitution, Egypt now has a unicameral parliament, House of Representatives. Egypt’s new parliament, which opened 10 January, is the most empowered and diverse parliamentary body in Egyptian history. For example, women made extraordinary gains and now hold 89 seats in the House of Representatives, making the highest percentage of female representation (14.9 per cent) in parliament’s 150-year history. The same is also true about Christians whose number now stands at 39 (6.5 per cent) while the number of political parties represented in parliament rose to 19, with 245 MPs (41.1 per cent).

The Judiciary Authority

The judiciary is independent. It is vested in the courts of justice of different types and degrees, which issue their judgments in accordance with the law. Its powers are defined by law. It comprises The Public Prosecution, The State Council and The Supreme Constitutional Court. All judicial bodies administer their own affairs. Each has an independent budget, whose items are all discussed by the House of Representatives. After approving each budget, it is incorporated in the state budget as a single figure, and their opinion is consulted on the draft laws governing their affairs.

Political Parties

Emergence of the political parties in Egypt in the 19th century was a reflection of social, economic and cultural interactions as well as certain historical, national and political circumstances, leading to the creation and development of modern institutions of government administration and society in Egypt such as the parliament, the cabinet, political parties, syndicates, etc. The National Party was the first party formed in 1907 by political leader Mostafa Kamel. According to Article 74 of the 2014 Constitution, Citizens have the right to form political parties by notification as regulated by the law. No political activity may be exercised or political parties formed on the basis of religion, or discrimination based on sex, origin, sect or geographic location, nor may any activity be practiced that is hostile to democracy, secretive, or which possesses a military or quasi-military nature. Parties may only dissolved by a judicial ruling. There are nowadays more than 100 parties in Egypt.

Foreign Policy

Article 1 of the Egyptian Constitution promulgated in 2014 has stipulated that “Egypt belongs to the African Continent”, a statement that promotes the depth of African dimension in the Egyptian foreign policy.  Foreign policy is considered an essential component of Egyptian policy. It seeks to achieve its objectives, particularly in terms of foreign diplomatic action and protecting interests of the Egyptian State and the Egyptian citizens abroad. The Foreign Ministry also seeks to consolidate Egypt’s bilateral and multilateral relations, to serve the Egyptian public policy objectives by strengthening traditional friendly relations with all countries, as well as laying foundations for new relations, so as to activate Egypt’s role on the international arena and serve Egyptian interests worldwide. Traditional relations on the Arab and African levels are maintained through interaction within regional organizations; such as the League of Arab States and the African Union. Bilateral relations between Egypt and the Arab and African countries are also promoted through holding consultations, and widening the scope of cooperation in all fields, as well as exchanging expertise and visits in different areas. The Ministry is also committed to boosting Egypt’s strategic relationships with the various countries and with regional blocs to support sustainable development efforts in the service of the Egyptian strategic interests on regional and international levels. The Ministry plays an important and effective role within the UN and its specialized agencies, as well as in the various international organizations to foster peace, security, and economic development.

Education

Egypt’s education sector is the focus point of much attention. Egypt’s public education system is the largest in terms of student populations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). According to the Egyptian constitution, the government is required to spend at least 3 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) on healthcare and at least 4 percent of the GNP on education every year, increasing allocations gradually to comply with international standards. The World Bank’s (WB) Executive Council has unanimously agreed to support the implementation of the comprehensive national strategy for the development of pre-university education in Egypt with US$500 million. The Egyptian government has identified higher education as a priority, and is enacting a series of programs designed to make universities in Egypt more internationally competitive. Egypt currently has 24 public universities (with about two million students) and 26 private universities (60,000 students). As well as five institutions featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2016/17, Egypt has 15 representatives in the QS University Rankings: Arab Region 2016, including eight within the top 50. Egypt’s public universities and educational institutes received around 2.5 million enrolled students during the academic year of 2017-2018.

Women and Childhood

Egypt has achieved an important progress in child wellbeing and rights over the past two decades, including a strong reduction of child and maternal mortality, high rates of immunization coverage and almost universal access to basic education. In light of the great importance the State attaches to the empowerment of women in different fields, Article 11 of the Constitution states that the state commits to achieving equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. Through the history, the role of women in Egypt has changed dramatically. In the archaeological records preserved from the ancient times, Egyptian women were considered nearly equal to men. In the 1950s Egyptian woman attained all political rights starting with the right to hold public and senior post, and was recognized as a productive force on an equal footing with men. Such development was crowned with the appointment of the first female minister for social affairs in 1962. Since then, Egyptian women continued to hold ministerial posts in successive governments. The current government has 6 female ministers, representing 20% of the ministerial post. There are 89 MPs in the House of Representatives, 14 of which by appointment and the rest were elected. A woman was appointed governor and 6 women were appointed deputies for the State Cases Authority for the first time. Furthermore, the number of female judges reached 66. Dr. Fayza Abu el-Naga was appointed Special Adviser to the President for National Security since November 2014.

On childhood, Article 80 of the Constitution stipulates that Children have the right to be named and possess identification papers, have access to free compulsory vaccinations, health and family care or an alternative, basic nutrition, safe shelter, religious education, and emotional and cognitive development. The state guarantees the rights of children who have disabilities, and ensures their rehabilitation and incorporation into society. The state shall care for children and protect them from all forms of violence, abuse, mistreatment and commercial and sexual exploitation.

Culture

The Culture of Egypt has five thousand years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that had a profound influence on later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharonic era, Egypt came under the influence of Hellenism, for a time Christianity, and later, Arab and Islamic culture. Designed by Italian architects Avoscani and Rossi, the Opera House was completed in six months, in the center of Cairo. The Khedivial Opera House was the first on the African continent to perform world famous operas and symphonic masterpieces. Today, many aspects of Egypt’s ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in Ancient Egypt. With its ancient history, cosmopolitanism, strong Islamic traditions, modern pan- Arab political and intellectual history and relative freedom, Egypt is the cultural capital of Arab world. The Arab television and cinema is dominated by the Egyptian television and film industry, as is popular Arabic music. Egypt has also been a fount of Arabic literature having produced some of the greatest 20th century Arab writers from Taha Hussein and Tawfiq Al Hakim to Nobel laureate novelist Naguib Mahfouz.

Cairo Opera House

In 1869 Khedive Ismail gave instructions to build an Opera House on the occasion of the inauguration of the Suez Canal. It was called Khedivial (Royal) Opera House, which was constructed in only six months to the design of two Italian architects, Avoscani and Rossi. Before the building was complete, the Khedive started to prepare a great performance for his project that should reflect glimpses of Ancient Egyptian history. He selected Mariette Pasha to prepare a story about the Egyptian history that could form the nucleus of the poem play. Mariette Pasha commissioned the Italian poem Gialanzoni to write the libretto, and the musician Verdi was commissioned by the Khedive to compose the music. The result was the famous opera, Aida, with its patriotic subject and passionate song and superb music, a masterpiece from the hands of these three geniuses. However, Aida had not been ready by the inauguration of the Opera House. Therefore, another masterpiece by Verdi; Rigoletto was performed on the occasion. Opera Aida itself was performed two years later. The Opera House was the first in Africa, where famous world Opera and symphonic masterpieces were performed.

Egyptian Ballet

The Cairo Opera Ballet Company was formed in 1966. It was affiliated with the High Institute of Ballet, the Company members were trained by experts. The Company’s first performance was “The Fountain of Bakchisary” directed by Leonid Labrovsky (then Director of Bolshoi Theatre). With that beginning, the company went on to enrich itself with the great ballet classics as Giselle, Nut Cracker, Bekhita and Swan Lake. Later, the Company introduced contemporary ballet by Egyptians, such as El-Somoud (Steadfastness) by Abdel-Moneim Kamel; depicting the Egyptian people’s stand in the wake of the 1967 war. There is also the new version of El-Somoud, following the October 1973 victory, Gamal Abdel-Rahim’s “Isis & Osiris” in 1984, Attia Sharara’s “Egyptian Steps”, the “Temple Music” by Entesar Abd- Elfattah and Choreography by Youssri Selim, Omar Khairat’s “The Nile”, Gilga Mesch’s “Fire Felt into the Heart”. Not to forget “Rhythm of Generations” and “Three Nights”.

Theatre in Egypt

Ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to ever perform shows publicly. With no special venues built for plays, ancient Egyptians performed shows for the general public on the streets. According to centuries-old sources, dating to the Middle Kingdom, the Ramesseum Dramatic Papyrus accurately documents the diversity of ceremonial theatrical performances, which included religious rituals and story-telling dramatic performances. The Dramatic Ramesseum Papyrus, which is the oldest surviving illustrated papyrus roll, is a scripted play created to celebrate Pharaoh Senusret I of the 12th Dynasty ‘s rise to the throne. Another drama is called “ The Triumph of Horus “ that was performed during the Festival of the Victory at Edfu. The texts telling the story of that drama, which date back to the New Kingdom between 1300-1200 BCE. Perhaps the most famous play performed was the “Osiris Passion” Play, which tells the tale of King Osiris who was mercilessly murdered and dismembered by Seth.  Theatre appeared in modern Egypt during the French campaign in 1789. In 1869 Khedive Ismail established the French Comedy Theatre and the Opera House to receive the delegations participating in the celebrations he prepared for his guests in the occasion of opening the Suez Canal. He also established another theatre in Al Azbakia Garden in 1870. The year 1921 witnessed the birth of the first national theatre.

Egyptian Cinema

The earliest projections using a “Lumière” cinematograph in Egypt took place on the 15 November 1896, at the Toussoun Exchange in Alexandria, then in Cairo on 28th November, that is, less than one year after the first projection in Paris, on 28 December 1895. Egypt’s first “Lumière cinematograph” cinema opened its doors in Alexandria in 1897. By 1926 - that is, by the end of the silent cinema era - 86 cinemas were operating in Egypt. With the advent of the “talkies”, the number of cinemas increased. By 1958, there were 395 of them. The creation in 1913 of the “association of the friends of the theatre”, which would later become the “friends of the theatre and the cinema”, is one of the results of this vast movement. In 1933, the government presented awards with monetary prizes for the best films screened in 1932. Barely five years separated this initiative from the first international film competition (the American Oscars in 1927) and it came just one year after the first international film festival in Venice, in 1932.

In 1943, the Institute of Dramatic Arts once again became a department of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts. The creation of the actors’ union and the union of film professionals dates from the same year. Two years later, in 1945, the musicians’ union was created. A Chamber of Commerce for the film industry was created in 1947, as a branch of the Egyptian Federation of Industries. In 2009, 300 companies were registered. The year 1958 saw the creation of the first Institute of Cinematographic arts.

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) is one of only 15 festivals accorded as a category “A” status by The International Federation of FILM producers Associations. It is the oldest and only internationally accredited annually running film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East.

Monuments & Tourism

There are many different types of ancient Egyptian sites. Some can be considered monuments, while others are ancient towns that are more than a single monument. However, we can usually describe ancient monuments as temples, tombs, including pyramids, huge statues, government buildings, including palaces, and private property, such as houses. Most of the best preserved monuments of ancient Egypt are Temples and tombs, because they were built to last longer than such places as houses or palaces. The Temple of Karnak was first built in the 16th century BCE. About 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings, creating an extremely large and diverse complex. The Luxor Temple was constructed in the 14th century BCE by Amenhotep III in the ancient city of Thebes, now Luxor. It later received a major expansion by Ramesses II in the 13th century BCE. About 135 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt, with the largest (in Egypt and the world) being the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Egypt’s history is very long, and even after the pharaohs there are many important ancient sites. For example, there are Roman fortresses, ancient Christian monasteries and churches, and more recently, famous old Mosques and Mausoleums. The ancient Christian monasteries are some of the oldest in the world, and are very famous. In fact, the first Christian monasteries were built in Egypt. The oldest monastery in the world that has always had monks living in it is St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. There are also many old churches throughout Egypt, many of which are still used today. For example, Abu Mina, near Alexandria, is an amazing ancient Christian site which attracted, during the 5th & 6th centuries, Europeans and Egyptians alike, with one of the largest churches in ancient Egypt. St. Antony’s Monastery, which lies at the foot of Al- Qalzam Mountain near Al Zaafarana, was founded in 356 AD just after the saints death and is the oldest active monastery in the world. The Church of St Sergius in Cairo stands where the holy family is believed to have rested in Egypt when they were forced into exile by King Herod.

Egypt is famous for its historical and famous mosques mainly in Cairo as it is known as the “city with 1000 minarets” which refers to the huge number of mosques in Cairo. Mosque of Amr Ibn Al- As is the first mosque built in Egypt and Africa and it was constructed by Amr Ibn Al-As in 642 AD. The Ibn Tulun Mosque in the Sayyedah Zeinab district is the third «large mosque» built in Egypt. It is characterized by its spacious hall (saha), its unique spiral minaret and a large collection of gypsum decoration. At the south end of Al-Muizz Al-Deen Street, there are two minarets that tower over the gates of Fatimid Cairo. This is Bab Zuweila, built as the south gate to the city in the 11th century.

The Egyptian economy is one of the most diversified promising economies in both the Middle East and Africa. The Egyptian economy appears to be in good shape approaching the end of this fiscal year. In April, foreign reserves hit a record high, and Egypt successfully held its first euro-denominated public debt issuance. Since the government embarked on its IMF-backed structural reform program in November 2016, foreign reserves have been on an upward trend. This trend continued in April as investors banked on the reform progress that has seen the pound freely floated and the twin deficits trimmed. In the same month, business conditions in the non-oil private sector improved for the first time since last November on the back of higher new business orders and stable output. Meanwhile, in late April, a second production unit came online at the offshore Zohr gas field. The new unit will double the field’s output capacity, bringing Egypt a step closer to ending its dependency on LNG imports. Growth should accelerate this year and next. Investment will support the economy, boosted by an improved regulatory environment—thanks in large part to several recent measures, such as new investment, bankruptcy and industrial licensing laws. GDP is expected to expand 4.8% in FY 2018, up 0.1 percentage points from last April’s forecast, and 5.0% in FY 2019.

The Suez Canal

The 120 miles-long Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway located in Egypt and connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez. Officially opened in November 1869, the Suez Canal is one of the most heavily used shipping routes in the world, witnessing the passage of thousands of vessels every year. The canal, which separates Asia from the African continent, offers a shortest maritime route between Europe and the regions that share a border with the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific Ocean. The journey from Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, transiting through the Suez Canal, cuts around 7,000 kilometres off the journey compared to the one carried out through the South Atlantic and southern Indian oceans. In 2015, Egypt completed a major expansion of the Suez Canal that saw the deepening of the parts of the canal and the construction of a second 35km-long shipping lane along part of the main waterway. The expansion allowed the canal to accommodate two-way traffic along part of the route and also the transiting of larger vessels. In December 2017, the world’s largest container ship, the 400-meter long OOCL Hong Kong, passed through the Suez Canal carrying 21,400 containers. Witnessing around 8-12 per cent of global sea-borne trade annually, the canal plays a significant role in the growth of Egypt’s economy. The Suez Canal generated revenue of $5.3 billion in 2017.

Tourism

Egypt was known throughout its history as a destination for tourists and travelers since it was visited by «Herodotus» during the ancient time. However, the discovery of the Pharaonic antiquities long time ago has added a special charm to Egypt, besides its unique religious and cultural monuments. On the other hand, Egypt enjoys a geographical location, and a moderate climate all the year-round, along with its smooth vast coastlines, and beaches with its unique treasures of coral reefs, providing Egypt with advantages of a competitive edge.

Cultural Tourism

Egypt embraces several Pharaonic, Greek and Roman historic antiquities and museums. Cultural tourism has started since the discovery of ancient Egyptian antiquities and the decipher of the hieroglyphics. Ever since, missions of archaeology, explorers and authors were very keen on visiting Egypt and documenting its astonishing past and promising future. Important cultural tourism areas are located at Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Sinai, Fayoum city, oasis and museums.

Beach Tourism

Despite Egypt’s ancient allure, today the country probably attracts more beach vacationers than any other type of tourists. This is because, for many Europeans, the warm Egyptian beaches are both inexpensive and well appointed. Many European countries lack warm beaches and the alternatives to Egypt are somewhat expensive. Therefore, not only do people come to Egypt’s beaches independently, but many arrive by way of chartered airlines that specialize in such vacations from Europe. Depending on how one looks at it, Egypt can be said to have as many as seven beach zones. These consist of the Mediterranean beaches along the mainline coast from the Suez Canal over to Libya, the Mediterranean beaches along the northern Sinai, the Sinai coast along the Gulf of Aqaba, the Sinai coast along the Gulf of Suez, the southern Sinai region which opens onto the Red Sea, the Mainland coast along the Gulf of Suez and the Mainland coast south of that along the Red Sea.