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Egypt - Ancient and Modern

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Modern Day Egypt

Egypt is a country in northeast Africa. Its capital city is Cairo. 

It is a large country, but a large part of the country is desert, and most of the 80 million Egyptian people live on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Nile River.
 
Egypt is famous for the remains of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation, with many monuments such as the Pyramids and the Sphinx still standing today.

The River Nile - the lifeline of Egypt

The River Nile is about 6,695 km (4,160 miles) in length and is the longest river in Africa and in the world. It begins in the mountains of Africa and flows north to the Mediterranean Sea.

The waters of the River Nile have provided fertile soil for Egypt, ancient and modern. It is often called “Egypt’s River of Life.” In modern Egypt most of the people live close to the Nile.
 
You can see from the pictures below how important the Nile is to Egypt - the green areas of the maps show how rich the soil is, and the night time satellite imagery shows how it has allowed people to live in a desert country.

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Ancient Egypt

The Egyptian Empire was a great civilisation that began about 3,500 BC and lasted until 20 BC when it was invaded by the Roman Empire.

 
The Ancient Egyptians were very advanced, creating one of the earliest writing systems (Hieroglyphs). They also built huge temples, monuments and tombs (many of which are still standing 4000 years later), and had a powerful army.
 
The Ancient Egyptians' religion had many gods. They were ruled over by their kings, called Pharaohs.

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Ancient Egypt Gods and Religion 

The ancient Egyptians worshiped over 2000 gods and goddesses and built many temples to honour them and prayed to the Gods for whatever they needed. Most ancient Egyptian gods had animal heads. 

The Egyptians believed that the very first God, Re-Atum, came from the dark waters of chaos that filled the Universe. He created the God of Air (Shu) and Goddess of Water (Tefnut) who then produced two children, Nut (goddess of the sky) and Geb (god of the Earth).
 
Humans were created when Shu and Tefnut went walking in the darkness and got lost. Re-Atum sent his eye to find them. After finding them, his tears of joy turned into people. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the pharaohs were Horus's descendants.

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Tutankhamun - the boy king and the Mummy's curse!

Tutankhamun (King Tut) was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt from about 1334 BC to 1323 BC. He became Pharaoh at 9 years old and ruled for just 9 years until his death. He was buried with great riches, including the famous solid gold mask. He was buried in three golden coffins, 

He is one of the most famous Pharoahs because his tomb was mostly undisturbed and provided archaeologists and scientists with lots of information about ancient Egyptian daily life. 
 
The tomb was discovered in 1922 by the famous British archaeologist Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. 
 
There were reports of a message written in hieroglyphics on the tomb that said "Death Shall Come on Swift Wings to Him Who Disturbs the Peace of the King". This made people think there was a curse on King Tut's tomb. 
 
The ancient Egyptians believed that if their mummy was stolen or destroyed, their spirit would not be able to get to the afterlife. Putting a curse on the tomb was meant to scare away grave-robbers. 
 
Many people died of the so-called curse on King Tut's tomb but we now know that bacteria sealed in the tomb fed on the food in the tomb and killed the workers when it got in their lungs. 

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Mummification

The Egyptians believed that a body should be preserved after death to allow the person to travel into the afterlife. The best way the ancient Egyptians knew how to preserve a body was to mummify it.

The poor placed the bodies of their dead relatives out in the sun, in the desert sand. The bodies mummified naturally. The rich went to professional mummy makers. There was a complex process involved in making a mummy this way.

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