Evolving earth Children

Living with Pharoahs

Egypt, the cradle of civilisation, is fascinating. With its rich history, fertile lands, wide valleys and the Nile Delta, is a study of contrasts.

Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip, Palestine and Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west. The country spans the north-east corner of Africa and the south west corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt boasts of one of the oldest civilisations. It saw the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Its iconic ruins, such as the Great Sphinx, Memphis reflect this legacy. The ancient rulers were known as Pharaohs. The name originated from the term “per-aa” which means “the Great House”.

Living with Pharoahs

In the Western Desert is the Farafra depression. A main geographic attraction of Farafra is its White Desert, so named because of its massive chalk rock formations that are textbook examples of ventifact. East of the Nile, is the semi-arid Arabian Desert extending to the edges of the Red Sea. The Black Desert is a dark rocky area which owes its appearance to ancient volcanic action and the presence of abundant iron ore. In the south west, the land rises into the Gilf Kebir Plateau. Sandstone plateaus front the Nile and the Red Sea, with cliffs as high as 2,637m. The country is dissected by the Nile, as it flows north to the Mediterranean Sea from its source in central Africa. The surrounding Nile Valley, eight to 16km wide, is the country’s only fertile land and home to 98% of the population. The Red Sea extends into the Mediterranean by the man-made Suez Canal. The Sinai Peninsula lies east of the canal, and this limestone plateau rises to Mt Catherine in the south, the highest point of the country 2,637 m. Lake Nassar, the largest lake, is man-made, and created when the Aswan dam was constructed. The lowest point of Egypt is the Qattara Depression at -133 m. In the south east, the Red Sea Mountains, an extension of the Ethiopian Highlands, continue on into Sudan.


The people followed a polytheistic religion in which a vast number of gods and goddesses were venerated. Before the Arab invasion in AD 639, Coptic, the language descended from ancient Egyptian, was the language of both religious and everyday life. By the 12th century, it was replaced by Arabic. Today, Islam is practised by the majority of Egyptians and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives.


Egyptian cuisine uses a lot of legumes, vegetables and fruit from the rich Nile Valley and Delta. Examples of Egyptian dishes include ful medames, mashed fava beans; kushari, lentils and pasta; and molokhiya, bush okra stew. Pita bread, known locally as eish baladi

Music is an integral part of their culture. They created many instruments that were easy play like bells, drums, rattles, chimes and tambourines. In ancient Egypt people loved to dance. There were dances for different occasions, and also folk dances.

Living with Pharoahs


Traditionally, their history been divided into 31 dynasties. Dynasties one and two date back around 5,000 years and are often called the “early dynastic” while dynasties 25-31 (712–332 B.C.) are collectively known as the “late period”. At different points of time, the country has been occupied by the Persians, Nubians, Greeks and Romans.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:03:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/living-with-pharoahs/article31181039.ece

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