Home to the most iconic pyramids in the world, a rich ancient history loaded with myth and lore, it’s no wonder Egypt is one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations. Its countless millennia of history has lent it some of the most fascinating events that helped shape the Egypt we know today. Here are some of the most fascinating facts about Egypt, the land of The Nile, The Pyramids and ancient kingdoms.
7 Interesting Facts About Egypt
1. We have Egypt to thank for our calendar
Did you know that it was the ancient Egyptians who invented the 365-day calendar? They did this in an effort to predict the annual floodings of the Nile River. Their calendar system consisted of three seasons, each of which were made up of four months of 30 days each. To round off the year, five days were added at the end to make a sequence of 365 days and be able to accurately predict the weather.
2. Evidence suggests that slaves didn’t build the Pyramids of Giza
When it comes to the origins of the iconic Pyramids of Giza, most believe that they came about thanks to a massive slave class and a ruthless Pharoah. However, recent discoveries suggest that the Pyramids were actually built by a free working class who actually went on to be buried near the King’s tombs in honour of their efforts toward the pyramids.
3. Greater Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East
With a population clocking in at a whopping 22 million spanned across approximately 500 square kilometres, Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East. Not only that, it’s also has one of the most dense populations in the world. Cities that proceed it include Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh and Bogota.
4. Egypt is home to one of the world’s largest dams
Built to help contain the wild, raging waters of the world longest river, the Nile, Aswan dam is one of the biggest in the world. The enormous 1 billion dollar dam famously ended the cycle of flooding and was a miracle for Egypt’s infrastructure after its construction in 1970. Not only that, but the construction of the dam reclaimed over 100,000 acres of desert land for cultivation.
5. Cleopatra was not Egyptian
Undoubtedly, most people are shocked to find that Cleopatra, one of Egypt’s most iconic figures, wasn’t actually Egyptian at all. While she was born in Alexandra, Egypt, she actually hailed from a long line of Greek Macedonians. In fact, she was one of the first of her lineage to actually speak the Egyptian language.
6. In Ancient Egypt, they loved board games
Long before the days of scrabble and Monopoly, there was Mehen and Dogs and Jackals. In Ancient Egypt, board games were quite a big deal and a common choice of relaxation after a long day of work. Moreover, one of the most popular board games was known as Senet and can be traced back to 3500 BC. Egyptians would play on a board with 30 squares, and each player had a set of pieces with the objective of moving from one side of the board to the other.
7. Egypt is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
For many, this may come as no surprise, but Egypt’s UNESCO status fos far beyond the pyramids. In fact, Egypt has seven UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites. Among them are Memphis and its Necropolis; Whale Valley; the entire Historic Cairo and more.