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geography:

Egypt is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean, to the south by Sudan, to the west by Libya, and to the east by the Red Sea and Israel. The River Nile divides the country unevenly in two, while the Suez Canal provides a third division with the Sinai Peninsula. Beyond the highly cultivated Nile Valley and Delta, a lush green tadpole of land that holds more than 90 per cent of the population, the landscape is mainly flat desert, devoid of vegetation apart from the few oases that have persisted in the once fertile depressions of the Western Desert. Narrow strips are inhabited on the Mediterranean coast and on the African Red Sea coast. The coast south of Suez has fine beaches and the coral reefs just offshore attract many divers. The High Dam at Aswan now controls the annual floods that once put much of the Nile Valley under water; it also provides electricity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egypt - overview:

 

Travelers have marvelled at Egypt’s archaeological wonders for centuries, ever since the Ancient Greeks visited the pyramids. Today, the ancient wonders attract millions of tourists each year to the pyramids, temples, mosques and great monuments of the Nile Valley, as well as the stunning diving resorts of the Red Sea.

In 430 BC, when Herodotos exclaimed in awe over the magnificent monuments in Egypt, many of them were already 2500 years old. Most, from the pyramids of Giza to the astonishingly beautiful temples of Karnak or Philae, or the painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, can still be visited today. The sheer age of this great civilization is mind-blowing.

The life-giving Nile pours across the map, feeding an emerald ribbon of irrigated fields adjacent to villages shaded by date palms. Whether on a cruise ship or traditional felucca, life on the water is a constant visual feast, while the few huge, dusty cities – Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor – are a babble of exotic sounds and smells.

Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik, on the Red Sea coast, are doors to a magical underwater world of technicolor fish and coral favored by divers, while other adventurous travelers head inland. Here, you can discover monasteries amid the arid mountains of Sinai or the distant desert oases, homes of the hardy nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands.

While best known for its pyramids and ancient civilizations, Egypt is at the center of the Arab world and has played a central role in the political situation within the region in modern times. After three wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973, peace was achieved with Israel in 1979 leading to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League. Following the assassination of Anwar Al-Sadat in 1981 by Islamic extremists, Hosni Mubarak was elected president and oversaw the return of Egypt to the Arab League in 1991. During this time, Egypt joined the international coalition which drove Iraqi occupation forces out of Kuwait and since then, Egypt has played a vital role in the Middle East Peace Process.