Culture and Customs of Egypt

By Molefi Kete Asante | Go to book overview

1
Land, People, and Historical
Overview

EGYPT occupies 1,001,450 square miles in the northeast quadrant of the African continent. It is about three times the size of the state of New Mexico in the United States. Egypt is the second most populous nation in Africa, after Nigeria. It is a country defined by a long, powerful river—the storied Nile—flowing south to north. There are ancient river towns lining its banks as well as newer ones built since the harnessing of the river by the Aswan High Dam.

With nearly 1,865 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean and Red seas, Egypt plays a vital role in international trade for the region. Furthermore, it has a long land border that adjoins four countries: 791 miles with Sudan to the south, 715 miles with Libya to the west, and 165 miles with Israel and the Palestinian Authority's Gaza Strip to the east.

Egypt is a country of extremely fertile soil. Many varieties of fruits and vegetables grow in the rich alluvial soil, a legacy of the millennia of inundations that have made the country one vast garden along the Nile. Of course, the vast majority of the land area is in the desert. Thus, Egypt could be defined as a desert penetrated by a river.

The history of Egypt is as complex as it is intriguing; the modern history is almost as riveting as the ancient history. Egypt's modern history is a long narrative of political, social, and cultural experiences in a narrow valley in the middle of a desert. The people who have conquered every inch of fertile soil along the banks of the Nile and made history in a succession of political realities are to be credited with bringing a deeply ancient society into the modern era.

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Culture and Customs of Egypt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword viii
  • Preface x
  • Chronology xii
  • 1: Land, People, and Historical Overview 1
  • 2: Government, Economy, Education, and Tourism 39
  • 3: Religion and Worldview 63
  • 4: Architecture and Art 77
  • 5: Social Customs and Lifestyles 95
  • 6: The Media and Cinema 117
  • 7: Literature, the Performing Arts, and Music 129
  • Glossary 157
  • Bibliography 161
  • Index 165
  • About the Author 169
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