Culture



The culture of Egypt has thousands of years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations in Middle East and Africa. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly unique, complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenism, for a time Christianity, and later, Christian culture.




Languages

Avatar

Arabic is Egypt's official language, it came to Egypt in the 7th century, [1] and the Egyptian Arabic dialect today has become the modern speech of the country. Of the many varieties of Arabic, it is the most widely spoken second dialect, due to the influence of Egyptian cinema and media throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Egypt's position in the heart of the Arab world has also had reversed influence, adopting many words, phrases, and proverbs from neighboring Arabic speaking areas such as the Maghreb area and the Mashriq. Today the daily Egyptian Arabic adopted several French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Armenian and English words to its dictionary, as well as keeping several other words from its own ancient languages such as Coptic and Demotic. hieroglyphs, as this examplnoe from a sarcophagus from Thebes of about 530 BC, represent both ideograms and phonograms. The Egyptian language, which formed a separate branch among the family of Afro-Asiatic languages, was among the first written languages and is known from the hieroglyphic inscriptions preserved on monuments and sheets of papyrus. The Coptic language, the most recent stage of Egyptian, is today the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The "Koiné" dialect of the Greek language was important in Hellenistic Alexandria, and was used in the philosophy and science of that culture, and was later studied by Arabic scholars. In the lower Nile Valley, around Kom Ombo and Aswan, there are about 300,000 speakers of Nubian languages, mainly Nobiin, but also Kenuzi-Dongola. The Berber languages are represented by Siwi, spoken by about 20,000 around the Siwa Oasis. Other minorities include roughly 60,000 Greek speakers in Alexandria and Cairo as well as roughly 10,000 Armenian speakers.



Literature

Many Egyptians believed that when it came to a death of their Pharaoh, they would have to bury the Pharaoh deep inside the Pyramid. The ancient Egyptian literature dates back to the Old Kingdom, in the third millennium BC. Religious literature is best known for its hymns to and its mortuary texts. The oldest extant Egyptian literature is the Pyramid Texts: the mythology and rituals carved around the tombs of rulers. The later, secular literature of ancient Egypt includes the 'wisdom texts', forms of philosophical instruction. The Instruction of Ptahhotep, for example, is a collation of moral proverbs by an Egto (the middle of the second millennium BC) seem to have been drawn from an elite administrative class, and were celebrated and revered into the New Kingdom (to the end of the second millennium). In time, the Pyramid Texts became Coffin Texts (perhaps after the end of the Old Kingdom), and finally, the mortuary literature produced its masterpiece, the Book of the Dead, during the New Kingdom. The Middle Kingdom was the golden age of Egyptian literature. Some notable texts include the Tale of Neferty, the Instructions of Amenemhat I, the Tale of Sinuhe, the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor and the Story of the Eloquent Peasant. Instructions became a popular literary genre of the New Kingdom, taking the form of advice on proper behavior. The Story of Wenamun and the Instruction of Any are well-known examples from this period. During the Greco-Roman period (332 BC − AD 639), Egyptian literature was translated into other languages, and Greco-Roman literature fused with native art into a new style of writing. From this period comes the Rosetta Stone, which became the key to unlocking the mysteries of Egyptian writing to modern scholarship. The great city of Alexandria boasted its famous Library of almost half a million handwritten books during the third century BC. Alexandria's center of learning also produced the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint. Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth, a 1985 novel by Nobel Literature Laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Drep During the first few centuries of the Christian era, Egypt was the ultimate source of a great deal of ascetic literature in the Coptic language. Egyptian monasteries translated many Greek and Syriac words, which are now only extant in Coptic. Under Islam, Egypt continued to be a great source of literary endeavor, now in the Arabic language. In 970, al-Azhar University was founded in Cairo, which to this day remains the most important center of Sunni Islamic learning. In 12th-century Egypt, the Jewish Talmudic scholar Maimonides produced his most important work. In contemporary times, Egyptian novelists and poets were among the last to experiment with modern styles of Arabic-language literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated. The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab by Muhammad Husayn Haykal was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Many Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle East. Other prominent Egyptian writers include Nawal El Saadawi, well known for her feminist works and activism, and Alifa Rifaat who also writes about women and tradition. Vernacular poetry is said to be the most popular literary genre amongst Egyptians, represented most significantly by Bayram el-Tunsi, Ahmed Fouad Negm (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi.

Avatar



Religion

Avatar

About 75% of Egypt's population is Muslim, with a Sunni majority. About 22% of the population is Coptic Christian; other religions and other forms of Christianity comprise the remaining three percent. Sunni Islam sees Egypt as an important part of its religion due to not only Quranic verses mentioning the country, but also due to the Al-Azhar University, one of the earliest of the world universities, and the longest functioning. It was created as a school for religion studies and works.



© Copyright Egyptian Consulate, All Rights Reserved. Powered By D-SQUARED SOLUTIONS