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A map of EgyptOver 5000 years ago, one of the world’s greatest civilizations grew up in Egypt along the banks of the River Nile. Today, almost everybody in Egypt still lives along the Nile, in towns, cities and villages on its fertile floodplain. Egypt has a hot, dry desert climate, and desert covers much of the rest of the country. East of the Nile, the desert meets the Red Sea coast at a range of mountains. The Libyan Desert, part of the vast Sahara, stretches off to the west. Where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile splits into two main channels and many smaller ones, forming a wide delta. Here lies the richest farmland in Egypt. The Suez Canal, in the northeast, gives ships a short cut between the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.

A map of Egypt
Protesters in Cairo during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which toppled the government of President Mubarak


Around 90% of Egypt’s people are ethnic Egyptian: they are descendants of the people who have lived here for thousands of years. While the majority of the population are Muslim, there are about 7–12 million Coptic Christians, who follow a branch of Christianity that has its roots in Egypt 1900 years ago. In Egypt’s cities, many people work in services such as banking, education and tourism. Traditional coffee houses are popular places for people to meet their friends, play games and talk.

Around 98% of Egyptians live on just 3% of the country’s land area.

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