At the Crossroads of History, Culture & Civilizations
Egypt has been steeped into history for the longest time. Because there has been a lot of interest in Egypt’s history, historians coined the term “Egyptology,” which is the study of pharaonic Egypt. Egyptology spanned the period between c. 4500 BCE and CE 641. How did Egyptology begin? Scholars going with Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt published the Description de I’Égypte (1809-1828); this publication made huge quantities of source materials about ancient Egypt available for Europeans.
Did you know that written Egyptian documents dated to c. 3150 BCE? This was the first time that pharaohs developed the hieroglyphic script in Upper Egypt. These scripts provided the source material for Egyptological study.
Following the Arab conquest, only the Copts kept the ancient language alive (written in Greek characters). Coptic texts taken Egypt during the Renaissance awakened interest in the Egyptian language. German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher published a Coptic grammar in 1643; European travellers returned to Egypt with antiquities and stories of wondrous ruins. What’s more, Egyptology became an academic discipline in France, England, and Germany.
American museums opened Egyptian collections in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The University of Pennsylvania, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum are some of music collections that have done a lot of work in Egypt.
On the geographical front, Egypt has two coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red Sea. It borders Libya to the west, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east, and Sudan to the south.
Egypt has an area of 1,001,449 square kilometres. The longest straight-line distance from north to south is 1,024 kilometres, and the straight-line distance from east to west is 1,240 kilometres long. The country’s maritime boundaries measure more than 2,900 kilometres of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea.
Most of the country is made of desert. Thirty-five thousand square kilometres (3.5%) of the total land area is cultivated and permanently settled. Most of Egypt is located within the desert zone that runs east from Africa’s Atlantic Coast and connects with southwestern Asia.
Four leading geological regions are present in Egypt: Nile Valley and Nile Delta, Western Desert (also known as Libyan Desert), Eastern Desert (an extension from the Nile Valley until the Red Sea Coast), and Sinai Peninsula. Of the geological regions, the Nile Valley and Nile Delta are the most significant areas, though they cover only 5.5% of the country’s total area.