Egypt is a Middle Eastern country located in the northeast corner of Africa. A small part of Egypt, called the Sinai Peninsula, is located in Asia. Deserts cover most of Egypt, so it gets little rain, but the longest river in the world, the Nile River, flows through the desert and is key to living for many Egyptians. Almost all of Egypt's population, about 99%, is located near the Nile or along the Suez Canal, another body of water important to Egyptian life, although together they cover only four percent of Egypt's total land. The largest city, Cairo, has a population of about 6 million. About 10 million people live in the Cairo metropolitan area. Alexandria, a port city, is the second largest. Egyptian cities are extremely crowded and have inadequate public transportation, causing lots of traffic. They do have crowded streetcars and trains, though.
Many Egyptians consider themselves Arabs. The Bedouins, who are nomads, make up a distinct ethnic minority among the Arab population. Most have settled down on farms, but some tribes still wander. The major non-Arab minority are the Nubians. They originally lived in villages along the Nile in northern Sudan and the very bottom of Egypt, called the Nubian Valley. When the Aswan High Dam was constructed in the 1960's, it forced the Nubians to move higher up on the Nile.
Arabic is the official language of Egypt. Regional Arabic dialects have their own variations of sounds and words. The most widely used dialect is that of Cairo's. The Bedouin dialect is different from the settled residents of the Nile Valley. Some people in desert villages even speak Berber. Many educated Egyptians also speak English or French in addition to Arabic.
Egyptian city life is much different than its village life. City residents deal with normal city problems such as housing shortages and traffic. Most of city residents live in poverty, although others enjoy special conveniences and services. Villagers... [continues]
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