Located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, Egypt is built around the Nile Valley, a very fertile land bordering the river and bounded by 2 seas : the Mediterranean Sea (to the north) and the Red Sea (to the east). The thin area on either side of the Nile was historically where 90% of the population settled.
To the east of the valley is the Arabian Desert, bounded by a high ridge of mountains. To the west is the Libyan Desert which stretches across the top of North Africa.
The demarcation line in Cairo, the capital city, separates Lower Egypt (everything north of Cairo) from Upper Egypt (everything to the south). To the east, across the Suez Canal is the triangular wedge of Sinai with Mt Sinai and Mt Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt (2642m).
During the summer, from March to November, the climate is hot and dry in most of the country. December to February can be quite cold in the north. The sky is usually blue and cloudless. The temperature varies considerably in Egypt. It can be extremely hot during the day and very cold at night, especially in the desert.
It rains more often in Alexandria than in Aswan and Cairo. During the early days of the spring season, a hot wind called "Khamasin" blows in from the western desert at up to 150 km/h.
Though the majority of Egyptians are Muslims, there are over 12 million Christians living in Egypt today. The two communities enjoy an easy coexistence.
During Ramadan, all Muslims fast during the day. But the evening meal called "Iftar" is a real celebration and it's followed by street entertainment until sunrise.
The Copts play an important part in Egyptian society, especially in
artistic, economical and cultural domains.
Arabic is the official language spoken by all Egyptians. When Arabic is spoken in the streets, it's like a dialect and differs a great deal from classical Arabic.
Although English is very widespread, people will appreciate you taking time to learn a few words and phrases. In holiday resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, many other European languages are spoken such as French, German, Italian and Russian.