The Arab Republic of Egypt occupies the northeast corner of Africa,
lying within the great Sahara Desert. It is bordered on the north by the
Mediterranean Sea, on the south by the Republic of Sudan, on the west by
Libya, and on the east by Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea.
This geographical position has made Egypt a hub of world trade since
Egypt has a total area of 1 million square kilometers (386,100 square
miles) of land—almost twice the size of Spain. Barren deserts occupy
more than 90 percent of the country. The Nile separates the dunes of the
Western Desert from the mountainous Eastern Desert. These two deserts,
the Nile Valley, and the Sinai Peninsula make up Egypt's four geographic
Location: the northeast corner of the continent of Africa
Size: approximately 997,740 sq. km
Official language (today): Arabic
Official language (ancient): combination Semitic and Hamitic
Major river: The Nile divides Egypt in half
Topography: The highest lands are in the south and the land slopes
gently toward the Mediterranean Sea. There are some mountains located on
the southern Sinai peninsula. Some of these reach over 2600 meters (8530
feet high). The land at the Mediterranean is at sea level.
Libyan, Nubian, and Eastern. They were barriers of protection, shielding
the people against invasion by surrounding civilizations
Climate With the exception of the strip bordering the Nile and
the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt is desert.
Expect dramatic temperature swings in the desert. When the sun rises,
sand and rock begin to heat, radiating warmth into the dry air. Daytime
temperatures may reach nearly 54° C (130° F), and temperatures as high
as 78° C (170° F) have been recorded. When the sun sets, the desert
cools as rapidly as it warmed. Temperature changes over 37° C (100° F)
have been recorded in a 24-hour period.
Rainstorms in the desert are uncommon and unpredictable—they may be
decades apart. When storms do strike, they are often violent and
localized. In such torrential downpours, entire mud-brick villages have
been washed away.
Egypt's winds, in contrast, are predictable. They sweep across the land
from the north, bringing cooling breezes from the Mediterranean. In the
desert, the wind can lift sand up to 2 meters (6 feet) from the ground,
creating a shifting, billowing layer above the land