There’s just something about Egypt that feels exotic and ancient. Even the name conjures up images of pharaohs and pyramids and ancient secrets. But, that’s not all that this country has to offer.
There are plenty of cosmopolitan areas within the country as well. Anyone who’s a fan of Agatha Christie or whodunit movies has probably had a daydream or two of cruising down the Nile.
Egypt is one of those travel destinations that so many Americans find fascinating. Egypt is an ancient land that has a rich and engrossing history.
Anyone who loves art and architecture probably has this destination near the top of their must-see list!
Not only is Egypt an ancient civilization with a rich history, but its largest cities, Cairo and Alexandria, offer many modern cultural experiences to residents and visitors alike. The dichotomy between the ancient and modern in these cities is nothing short of fascinating.
In addition to the most popular tourist sites, Egypt offers many beach resorts and luxury experiences. Here you’ll find a mix of ancient and modern that’s indeed rare.
25 Fun Facts About Egypt for 2023
If you’re considering a visit to Egypt, these 25 fun facts are sure to whet your appetite. From ancient ruins to modern shopping and dining options, this North African nation has something for everyone.
For even the most casual travelers, a visit to this amazing country is sure to expand your horizons and give you a new perspective. And, it’s such a vast country with so much to see, you might even find yourself returning for another visit!
1. The complete and formal name of the country is the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Of course, most people refer to it only as Egypt, just as no one always refers to the US as the United States of America in casual conversation. Egypt is a Muslim country, and therefore much more conservative than many other nations, especially those in the West.
2. There are three active religions currently practiced in Egypt.
The largest majority of citizens are Muslim, with 90% of the country describing themselves as such. These people are predominantly members of the Sunni sect.
9% of the population that is identified as Coptic, and 1% as Christians. Due to this diversity, Christmas is an exciting time of year for visitors and residents alike.
3. The Egyptian flag reflects the colors of the Arab Liberation flag.
The colors red, white, and black hold special significance in this area of the world as they are the colors that signify the liberation of Arab nations such as Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.
4. The nation has a high literacy rate for men and an average one for women.
In Egypt, men have a literacy rate of 83% while 59.4% of women are literate. The history of scholarship in the country over thousands of years may have some influence on these rates.
Egypt is home to many world-class colleges and universities, and education is valued by most citizens.
5. Egypt has an incredibly arid climate and only receives about one inch of rain each year.
This makes it the perfect destination for anyone who’s tired of rainy weather! Travelers visiting the country will want to remember that the climate is dry and dusty and pack a lot of natural fibers such as cotton and linens when planning what to wear.
6. A lot of people live in Egypt, and it’s ranked 15th when countries are measured by population.
Because a lot of the country is composed of desert areas, 99% of the 82,079,663 people inhabiting the country live in just 5.5% of the entire land area. That’s a lot of empty space to explore!
7. The Great Pyramid of Giza took longer than two decades to build.
The pyramid is taller than the Statue of Liberty, and its base is the equivalent of five football fields placed end to end!
Each of the blocks used in its construction weighs more than an elephant, and there are more than two million of these limestone blocks used to create the pyramid. It’s no wonder that so many people are utterly fascinated by this structure.
8. Ramses the Great fathered over 90 children.
He was a very busy man! Ramses is one of the most beloved figures of Ancient Egypt. In addition to his estimated 44 girls and 56 boys, he is thought to have had 100 concubines but fewer than 10 wives.
Ramses ruled Egypt for 60 years and is the only Pharaoh who was given the honorific of the Great.
9. Ancient Egyptians loved carbs and drinking beer.
You probably wouldn’t have found many ancient citizens on a low-carb diet in Egypt. Bread was considered the most important food of all. (Yes, we can relate!)
And, beer was the favorite drink of most people. True to form, many Egyptians were buried with plenty of beer to get them over to the other side following their death.
10. Egyptians developed hieroglyphics around 3,000 BC.
These symbols likely began as cliff and cave paintings and developed over time. While our modern language has 26 letters, ancient hieroglyphic symbols numbered around 700. Their alphabet song must have taken a while to sing from start to finish!
11. The first known Egyptian pyramid was built in 2,600 BC.
This small step structure was purported to have been built by the known architect of the time, Imhotep. It was created at the request of Djoser to honor him as a pharaoh.
12. To the ancient Egyptians, the most important god was the sun god, known as Ra.
There were a lot of gods and goddesses worshiped in ancient times. If you were living in Egypt then, you’d have your pick of over 1,000 deities to worship! As the main god, Ra was worshiped by everyone.
13. Egypt wasn’t always called Egypt.
Way back in 2,650 to 2,134 BC the land was referred to as the Old Kingdom, which absolutely makes sense. Next, it was referred to as Kemet, or Black Land, as a nod to the lush soil found on the banks of the Nile.
Deshret, translated as Red Land was next and was in reference to its many desert lands. Today, it’s known as Egypt and is highly revered for its place in ancient history, no matter its name.
14. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the country.
With all of the exciting things to see and do in Egypt, it’s no surprise that tourism is one of its largest industries. In fact, an estimated 12% of all workers are employed by the tourism industry in some way.
15. The Sahara Desert was a lush grassland at one time.
This is one of those fun facts that we have a hard time wrapping our heads around. Anyone who has even just seen pictures of the Sahara might have a hard time comprehending this one! Unfortunately, overgrazing led to its demise.
16. The land mass of the US and the Sahara Desert are about equal.
Yes, it’s true! This desert is so vast an area, that it equals the same land mass as the sprawling US. The Sahara Desert is more than 3,630,000 square miles! And it’s not even the largest desert on the planet, that honor is held by Antarctica.
17. Dramatic eye makeup was worn by everyone in Ancient Egypt.
If you’ve ever worn kohl eyeliner, the heavy, dark, black substance used to create a dramatic look, you can thank the Egyptians. And, in ancient times, both men and women used kohl to create dramatic looks. We guess that’s wear guy-liner also originated!
18. If you like telling time, thank the Egyptians.
Yes, that’s right. This is the civilization that invented clocks. We suppose they got tired of trying to use sundials on overcast days and decided to come up with something much more reliable. They’re also the first people who divided their years into 365 days.
19. At 4,135 miles, the Nile River is the world’s longest.
In ancient times the Nile was called the Iteru, which means Great River. A moniker that most people would agree is apt. The Nile is its own microcosm and one of the world’s most popular attractions. A cruise on this river is a must-do for any visitor to Egypt.
20. Ancient Egyptians were fans of their gods like modern Americans are football fans.
If you have a favorite sports team, you have something in common with Ancient Egyptians. Sort of. In ancient days, every city had its own god or goddess that they considered the best.
Similar to patron saints in the Catholic religion, they believed that their favorite would protect them.
21. The world’s largest pyramid is NOT located in Egypt.
That honor belongs to the Quetzalcoatl or Cholula Pyramid. If you’re interested in visiting the world’s largest pyramid you’ll need to travel to Mexico.
While not as tall as the Great Pyramid in Egypt, it covers 39.5 acres compared to the 13 acres that the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza spans.
22. NYC has been rougher on Cleopatra’s Needle than Ancient Egypt ever was.
If you’ve ever visited New York City, you might have seen the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle that has resided in the city for 125 years.
According to archeologists, that century plus in the Big Apple has caused more damage to the ancient relic than literally thousands of years in Egypt! We guess there aren’t any exceptions when it comes to pollution damage.
23. The events around the Sphinx’s nose, or lack thereof, remain unclear to this day.
Yes, it’s true that the Sphinx is missing its nose. One popular tale states that it was a conquering Napoleon who shot it off during his time in Egypt. As entertaining as that story might be, it’s likely untrue.
There are pictures that were created decades before Napoleon’s arrival that show a noseless Sphinx. Personally, we prefer the Napoleon tale, but the truth is the truth.
24. The Egyptian revolution of 2011 is often credited as the impetus for the Arab Spring uprisings.
In January 2011, there were spontaneous protests throughout Egypt. These demonstrations led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February of that year.
The revolution wasn’t without casualties, and a reported 6,000 people were seriously injured while 800 died.
25. King Tut’s tomb is the only known tomb that wasn’t raided and looted.
King Tutankhamen, known to friends as Tut, reigned in Ancient Egypt from 1334 BC to 1324 BC, a relatively short reign, as far as the kings of Ancient Egypt go. Because his tomb wasn’t discovered until 1922, the priceless artifacts found within the tomb were kept as the property of Egypt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe for Americans to visit Egypt?
Unlike its international perception, Egypt isn’t any more dangerous than most other countries. Of course, you’ll want to look out for pickpockets and other petty criminals when you’re in crowded areas, but overall, the country’s pretty safe.
Due to the many cultural differences, many Americans opt for guided tours when they’re traveling in Egypt.
The US State Department provides tourists with travel guidelines and warnings as necessary.
Will I need a Visa to enter the country?
Yes, all Americans are required to have a Visa to enter Egypt. This document can be obtained through the mail or by visiting the Egyptian Consulate located in Washington, DC.
Are there certain dress codes that women must follow?
While there isn’t any type of stated dress code in place, Egypt is a Muslim country and therefore more conservative when it comes to styles of dressing. There are requirements enforced when you’re visiting churches and mosques, such as women having to cover their hair.
Most importantly, dress for comfort.
When’s the best time to visit Egypt?
The months between September and April are the ideal time of year to visit. This is when the temperatures are much cooler and visitors find the climate more comfortable. The busiest time of the year, and the most crowded, is December through the end of January.
What are the Top 3 sites to visit when in Egypt?
Egypt is filled with innumerable antiquities and natural wonders, but the Top 3 for many tourists are the lost city of Luxor, a Nile Cruise, and the Pyramids of Giza.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Egypt Today!
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Egypt has to offer. Happy travels!