Egypt is officially called the Arab Republic of Egypt, a transcontinental country that covers the northeastern part of Africa and the southwestern corner of Asia. Egypt has one of the most ancient histories of any nation, with the earliest writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion, and central government all developed in Ancient Egypt, which is popularly regarded as the cradle of civilization. With approximately 100 million inhabitants, the country is the 14th most populated country in the world. The country is the most populated in North Africa and the Middle East, and the third most populated in Africa as a whole. It is to be expected then, that Egypt has some sizeable cities.
Most of the country’s inhabitants live near the Nile River banks, which cover an area of 40,000 square kilometers (15,444 square miles). Other regions of the country, which are mostly covered by the Sahara desert, are sparsely inhabited. As mentioned, Egypt is one of the countries with some of the most ancient histories in the world, and although the country once was under British rule, most of the country’s historical sites are still intact and unaffected by European influence. Like with its population, most of these historical sites are scattered around some of the most populated cities in the country. Read on for more information about the three most populated cities in Egypt.
3. Giza – 3,438,401
With a population of a little over three million, Giza is the third most populated city in Egypt. It is a component of the Greater Cairo metropolis and is situated on the west bank of the Nile, 4.9 kilometers (three miles) south of the city’s center. Several pharaohs who controlled ancient Egypt had their graves in what is now Giza, in the second millennium BC. Apart from being a grave to these ancient pharaohs, the city is also home to several archaeological and cultural sites. The city started out as a small town but witnessed considerable growth towards the end of the 19th century. Many of these improvements were made as a result of the European tourists visiting the area at the time to see the pyramids that were erected hundreds of years ago. A highway was built for easy access to the pyramids, and the period also witnessed the construction of a rail terminus and the Cairo Zoo.
Because of its extensive history, the primary kind of tourists that visit the city of Giza are people interested in history and archaeological findings. The country receives an estimated eight million tourists per year, and a large percentage of this number comes in to visit Giza. Because the city, like most of the country, is hot, it is advised to visit between October and April when the weather is not as hot. One of the most visited parts of Giza is the Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu. This pyramid is the largest amongst the three other Giza pyramids and the oldest of the world’s seven wonders, at 4,500 years old. The pyramid is made of limestone and granite and is believed to have been erected as a tomb for a king.
Another notable place to go while touring Giza includes the Giza Solar Boat Museum, constructed in 1985 to display the Khufu Solar Ship. Historically, the solar boats were large ships that were used in religious rituals, but mostly, they were made to be used in the funeral rituals of the king. Other places to visit in the city of Giza include the Great Sphinx, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and Wissa Wassef Art Center.
2. Alexandria – 5,588,000
Egypt’s second most populated city is Alexandria, and apart from being the second largest city, Alexandria was also once the country’s capital. With a population of over five million, the city is on the Mediterranean. Apart from being a well-populated city, Alexandria is also known for being the country’s principal seaport and a major industrial center. The city served as Egypt’s capital right from when it was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE until it was lost to Arab forces in 641 CE. This invasion by the Arabs served as the Muslim conquest of Egypt, and the siege that led to the country’s capture lasted over a year, around 14 months.
However, many historians think that after the Arabs took control of the city, it experienced a sharp fall. Alexandria continued to play a significant role in naval operations, marine trade, and craft building even after it was replaced and the capital was relocated to another city. However, by the 19th century, there was a change in the city’s affairs. Alexandria had already been well-known for its historical significance and naval prowess, but its rise in agricultural exports made it much more known.
Currently, Alexandria is one of the most industrial cities in Egypt and also one of the most visited tourist spots. The city is popular for several archaeological sites, as well as historical buildings. The Great Library of Alexandria and the Pharos Lighthouse are two of the most popular destinations. Some others include the Alexandria National Museum, the Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa, Montazah Gardens, etc.
1. Cairo – 22,183,000
The most populated city in Egypt is Cairo, with over 10 million inhabitants and over 20 million in the Greater Cairo metropolitan area. Apart from being the most populated, it is also Egypt’s capital city. The city, which is close to the Nile Delta, was originally called Fustat and was built after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 AD. In Cairo, the 19th century saw the start of urban expansion. However, this growth was slow and did not begin to look like much until the 1950s with a large wave of industrialization.
Cairo’s economy has always been built on political operations, business, and trade. The city is Egypt’s center for financial and economic control. Its economy has enjoyed further diversification in large-scale manufacturing, textiles, and, more recently, tourism since the 1952 revolution. Despite only having two seasons—roughly eight months of summer and four months of winter—Cairo continues to draw tourists year-round, regardless of the weather. The city boasts the major banks, hotels, shops, entertainment venues, etc., that are found in Egypt to support its numerous tourists.
Cairo is a world-class tourist destination with a wealth of sights. There are numerous Pharaonic-era archaeological sites, Islamic-era city walls, as well as Christian-era and Jewish-era archaeological sites. Some of the most popular places to visit in the city include Al-Azhar Mosque, the Egyptian Museum, and the Coptic Museum.
Summary of the 3 Most Populated Cities in Egypt
|Name of City
|Capital; built on political operations, business, tourism, and trade.
|Principal seaport and major industrial and tourist center.
|Part of the Cairo metro area; home of the Great Pyramids.
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- , Available here: https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/cities/egypt
- , Available here: https://statisticstimes.com/demographics/country/egypt-cities-population.php
- , Available here: https://www.geonames.org/EG/largest-cities-in-egypt.html