Facts


  • The history of Egypt stretches back 5,000 years.  

  • The last monarchs of this dynasty: Ceops, Chepren and Mycerinus built their three pyramids at Giza: each of them showing mathematical precision, organisational control and enhanced skills unmatched for the period.  

  • The Great Pyramid at Giza is 146.9m high, worn down by 9m over the centuries; for these 2.5 million blocks of limestone were used weighing 6 million tons. The Kings chamber at the top covers a modest area of 5m by 10m, but the roof above it weighs 400 tons.  

  • Alexander the Great followed and won Egypt without much trouble. Proud of his success and adulation, he took a dessert trip to the Temple of Amun at Siwa, to hear what the Oracle had to say about his future. From that point he wanted to conquer the known world. He established himself in the fishing village of Rakotis, on the Mediterranean Coast of Egypt, which was later to become Alexandria.  

  • Cleopatra is one of the few women in Ancient history to be remembered for her formidable courage. She confronted Julius Caesar with stealth like entry, as she was brought into the Roman’s chamber rolled in a carpet meant to be a present. She met Mark Anthony on neutral ground and then returned to Egypt with him. Their affair was assiduous and lasted ten years yet ended after a confrontation with his wife Octavia. Tragically Anthony stabbed himself and Cleopatra giving her hand to the poison of an Asp.  

  • The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196BC in three scripts. Found in 1799 by French soldiers of Napoleon while building a fort in the town of Rosetta (Rashid). After many years of studying the stone Jean Francois Champollion, who could read both Greek and Coptic, deciphered hieroglyphics in 1822.  

  • The Alexandria Library was also the brain centre where east met west. It was when Julius Caesar, endangered by the revolt, had to swim for his life to the island of pharaohs. He retaliated by firing at the warehouse and palace which affected the books in the library as it caught fire; this led to the end of the library which vanished over time.
     
  • The revenues of the Suez Canal were used to build the High Dam – some temples were allowed to disappear beneath the water. However, 10 temples including Abu Simbel were dismantled and moved piece by piece.  

  • The Ancient Egyptians also have the distinct honour of having invented not only the modern 365-day calendar but the leap year system as well.  

  • The Egyptians invented an early system of writing known as hieroglyphics. They also invented paper on which to place it, made from the fibres of the papyrus plant.