Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East, and the third most populous on the African continent, with about 84 million inhabitants as of 2013. Its population grew rapidly from 1970 to 2010 due to medical advances and increases in agricultural productivity enabled by the Green Revolution.Egypt's population was estimated at only 3 million when Napoleon invaded the country in 1798. Egypt's people are highly urbanized, being concentrated along the Nile (notably Cairo and Alexandria), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Egyptians are divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centers and the farmers, that reside in rural villages.
Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion. The percentage of adherents of various religions is a controversial topic in Egypt. An estimated 90% are identified as Muslim, 9% as Coptic Christians, and 1% as other Christian denominations. Non-denominational Muslims form roughly 12% of the populaion.
After Islam arrived in the 7th century, Egypt emerged as a center of politics and culture in the Muslim world. Under Anwar Sadat, Islam became the official state religion and Sharia the main source of law. It is estimated that 15 million Egyptians follow native Sufi orders, There is also a minority of Shi'a. The Jewish Center for Public Affairs estimates the Shia population at one to 2.2 million and could measure as much as three million. The Salafi (ultra-conservative) population is estimated at five to six million. Cairo is famous for its numerous mosque minarets and has been dubbed "the city of 1,000 minarets".
Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern state, having been continuously inhabited since the 10th millennium BC. Its monuments, such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx, were constructed by its ancient civilization, which was one of the most advanced of its time. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest. Egypt's rich cultural legacy, as well as the attraction of its Red Sea Riviera, have made tourism a vital part of the economy, employing about 12% of the country's workforce.
The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. Egypt is considered to be a middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world.
Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, the Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean sea with the Indian Ocean by the Red Sea.
Towns and cities include Alexandria, the second largest city, Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital and largest city; El-Mahalla El-Kubra; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm el Sheikh; Suez, where the south end of the Suez Canal is located; Zagazig; and Al-Minya. Oases include Bahariya, el Dakhla, Farafra, el Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.
Most of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months. South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in), mostly between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim, Sidi Barrany, etc. and rarely in Alexandria. Frost is also known in mid-Egypt.
Temperatures average between 80 and 90 °F (26.7 and 32.2 °C) in summer, and up to 109 °F (43 °C) on the Red Sea coast. Winter temperatures average between 55 and 70 °F (13 and 21 °C). A steady wind from the northwest helps lower temperatures near the Mediterranean coast.
The legal system is based on Islamic and civil law (particularly Napoleonic codes); and judicial review by a Supreme Court, which accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction only with reservations. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation. Sharia courts and qadis are run and licensed by the Ministry of Justice. The personal status law that regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody is governed by Sharia.
Transport in Egypt is centered in Cairo, Alexandria and largely follows the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation's 40,800-kilometer (25,400 mi) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan and is operated by Egyptian National Railways. The badly maintained vehicle road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles, covering the Nile Valley and Nile Delta, the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. The Cairo Metro in Egypt is the first of only two full-fledged metro systems in Africa and the Arab World. The system consists of three operational lines.
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