By Azure Lee
The birthplace of the Pharaohs, Ancient Egypt was one of the most powerful and important civilizations in history. The country produced some of the most amazing inventions in history, including its magnificent pyramids, exquisite art, and amazing inventions.
Egyptology is a brand-new academic discipline that emerged from archaeologists' long-standing fascination with the history of ancient Egypt. Excavations and research in this field attracted so much attention that documentaries and movies attempting to portray the spirit of this fascinating civilization were produced.
However, the real question is: How much do we actually know about Egypt? With that in mind, before you plan your trip to Egypt, consider our 10 interesting facts about Egypt that you may not know about this majestic civilization.
Here Are 10 Fun Facts About Egypt
Egypt is a country rich in myths and legends, ancient civilizations, and of course, The Pyramids of Giza! It is a fascinating place to visit, home to some of the most fascinating historical sites on Earth, but there is much more to Egypt than meets the eye—as we explore these fascinating facts about Egypt, you will see why!
1. The Great Pyramids was not built by slaves
Many modern film producers adopted the storyline of the classical historian Herodotus, who claimed that the Great Pyramids were constructed by 100,000 slaves, comprising men, women, and children, working in appalling conditions and frequently subjected to abuse and torture if they did not complete their work quickly enough.
However, archaeological findings disproved this theory. Around 5,000 laborers were employed full-time and compensated, while an additional 20,000 individuals served as temporary workers. These free men were selected through the corvée system for national service, laboring in shifts lasting three to four months. Their compensation took the form of provisions such as food, shelter, and medical supplies.
The Great Pyramids was not built by slaves
2. Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Egypt
Egypt is a country rich in history and culture. Among its many attractions are seven UNESCO World Heritage sites: Abu Mena, Historic Cairo, Abu Simbel, Saint Catherine, Wadi Al-Hitan (also known as Whale Valley in the western desert of Egypt), Memphis and its Necropolis, and Ancient Thebes. Have you visited any of these locations?
If you have traveled to Egypt, you have probably seen Memphis and its Necropolis, which is actually the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur; other notable locations include Ancient Thebes, where you’ll find Luxor and the Valley of the Kings; Abu Simbel, which is situated on Lake Nasser; Historic Cairo, which is a must-see; and Saint Catherine, which is situated at the base of the mountains and is the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
3. Egyptians are mainly Muslim
Around 90% of its populace practices Islam, which means they are followers of the Islam religion, reflecting a significant facet of Egypt culture facts. Conversely, approximately ten percent of Egyptians belong to the Coptic community, one of the oldest branches of the Christian religion.
4. 95% of Egyptians live along the Nile River
Did you know that when it comes to intriguing facts about modern Egypt, the country hosts the world's longest river, the Nile River? This iconic river not only traverses Egypt but also acts as a vital lifeline for approximately 95% of the population. Surprisingly, even though nearly 90% of Egypt is covered by desert, an overwhelming majority, around 95%, resides along the fertile banks of the Nile.
Egypt was separated by the ancient Egyptians into two regions: the desert and the Nile Valley. The Nile flows northward towards the Mediterranean Sea, contrary to what you would think, upper Egypt is in the south, and lower Egypt is in the north.
95% of Egyptians live along the Nile River
5. Animals were seen as incarnations of the Gods
The people of ancient Egypt cherished cats dearly and embraced them as beloved companions. Cats held a revered status, even being objects of worship, commemorated through statues and paintings that symbolized their significance. These ancient Egyptians were pioneers in domesticating cats, often preserving and mummifying these feline companions to join their owners in burial. Their affection for cats was so profound that any act of harming them was met with severe consequences, including the penalty of death.
The ibises, lions, baboons, dogs, and hawks were among the other creatures that the ancient Egyptians held in high regard.
6. Egyptians wore makeup
Men and women wore cosmetics in ancient Egypt because they thought it had healing powers that would shield them from the sun.
Red paint and henna were applied to adorn their lips, hands, and fingernails. Perfumes crafted from an assortment of fragrances like Susinum, containing lily, myrrh, and cinnamon, or Syprinum, made of henna, cardamom, cinnamon, myrrh, and southernwood, were worn by both men and women.
7. Greater Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East
Cairo is the biggest city in the Middle East and Africa, home to an estimated 22 million people, and it occupies about 500 square kilometers. It is also one of the world's most populous cities.
Greater Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East
8. Egypt is where the twelve-month calendar originated
You probably don’t know this, but the calendar that we use today was invented by ancient Egyptians. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the first calendar known to humankind was invented in Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians followed a 12-month calendar, akin to our modern system. Yet, each month consistently comprised 30 days, resulting in a year of only 360 days. This discrepancy caused their calendar to diverge from the natural seasons. To compensate for this shortfall, they celebrated a five-day festival at the year's end to reconcile the lost time.
9. Ancient Egyptians and the afterlife
Some fun Egypt facts lie in the purpose behind the construction of the pyramids. These structures were built to serve as residences for the rulers of ancient Egypt and ferry them and their families into the afterlife. Essentially, the pyramids were designed as grand tombs intended for the Pharaohs and their kin.
Great care was taken in the mummification process because the ancient Egyptians believed that the body needed to be preserved to be reborn and be transported to the afterlife. They even mummified animals. The ancient Egyptians believed that they had to follow strict rules to have a good afterlife. They also believed that it was the responsibility of the living to help them get to the afterlife.
Ancient Egyptians and the afterlife
10. Cleopatra was not an Egyptian
Egypt's other fascinating fact is that, despite being born in Alexandria, one of the most well-known historical figures of the country is actually Greek, not Egyptian. She was descended from the Ptolemaic Dynasty, a group of Greek Macedonians who ruled Egypt from 323 to 30 BC. The name Cleopatra means "Famous in Her Father" or "Her Father's Fame" in Greek.
Discovering Fun Facts About Egypt Has Never Been Easier
As you plan your journey to explore these interesting Egypt facts, consider immersing yourself in the modern-day marvels that complement its rich heritage. And before you set off on this adventure, remember to apply for an Egypt eVisa via Egypt Immigration Services to streamline your travel process.
Embark on a voyage through time, from the majestic ancient monuments to the vibrant present-day culture, and witness firsthand the allure of Egypt's enduring legacy. Prepare for an unforgettable experience as you traverse this land steeped in history, mythology, and unending fascination.
Apply for your Egypt eVisa today and get ready to unlock the mysteries of this beautiful destination, where every corner holds a story waiting to be discovered. Your Egyptian adventure awaits!