Known widely as the “cradle of civilization”, Egypt is known to its own people as Misr (in Arabic). While the name is older than the Muslim conquest, its origins are attested to in the Quran. Following its long and eventful history of Pharaonic, Christian, and Muslim periods, Egypt today is predominantly populated by Arabic-speaking Sunni #Muslims. Interestingly, Egypt is even today referred to as the “gift of the Nile”, on which the population depends heavily for its agricultural needs as well as food security. As a result, about 96 per cent of the population lives in the Nile valley while the rest of the country is a desert.
The three #pyramids of #Giza – and the Great #Sphinx – remain the most notable cultural symbols of the Egyptian nation. Others include the Horus (ancient figure represented as a falcon) and the river #Nile. Among Egypt’s many cultural gifts to the world, were the Nobel Prize-winning author, Naguib Mahfouz and the globally renowned singer and artist, Umm Kulthum whose songs are broadcast not only in Egypt, but all over the Arab world even today. #Kulthum was well known for her feminist outlook.
The Egyptian film industry is one of the oldest in the world – the capital Cairo being dubbed “#Hollywood of the East” – and is famous for its tacky soap operas on one hand and critically acclaimed films on the other. Understandably, one of the leading film festivals – the #Cairo International Film Festival – is held in the city. It is among the top eleven best film panoramas in the world. Egyptian actors have gained international acclaim, notable among them being Omar Sharif and Rami Malek (his parents are Egyptian). Belly dancing or oriental dancing (Raqs Sharqi in Arabic) might have originated in #Egypt placing the country on the global cultural map.