Egypt Culture

Egypt Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Egypt

According to ETHNICITYOLOGY.COM, Egypt is a country located in Africa. Despite the relatively large illiteracy, the daily press traditionally has a strong position. Egypt has 17 daily newspapers, and the number of newspaper magazines sold. per 1,000 residents is 35 (2000). Cairo is the center of much of the newspaper and magazine publishing in the Arab world. Several major newspapers have long been government-owned. The press has been controlled by a press council since 1975. During the 1980s, government control decreased and the press debate increased, but as pressure from the Islamic opposition intensified, President Mubarak restricted freedom of speech. In 1995, a new press law was introduced, which could result in imprisonment and fines for, among other things. “Malicious news”. There are four major newspaper and magazine groups in Egypt. The largest are: al-Ahram, which publishes the daily al-Ahram, founded in 1875, with an edition of about 900,000 copies. and considered the most influential newspaper in Egypt (an international edition is published in London); Dar Akhbar al-Yawm, who publishes al-Akhbar (about 980,000 ex.); Dar at-Tahrir, who publishes al-Gumhuriya (900,000 copies) as well as an English-speaking (The Egyptian Gazette) and a French-speaking (Le Progrès Egypt) newspaper. Egypt also has a rich magazine flora.

Radio and TV are organized within a state-owned company, Egyptian Radio and TV Union (ERTU), founded in 1928. The radio broadcasts a total of about 450 hours a day over national and local stations. TV broadcasts in two national TV channels as well as in local channels for Cairo and Suez respectively. There is also a private pay-TV channel. Egypt is the center of an extensive television production focused on the Arabic language area. In 1998 also began broadcasting from Nilesat, the first satellite owned by a single Arab state; broadcasts reach the entire Arab world and parts of Europe and Africa. Both radio and television in Egypt have a distribution that is among the highest in Africa, with just over 339 radio and 189 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Egypt has a cultural tradition dating back thousands of years, with the pyramids as powerful monuments of a high civilization. The country has long been a regional cultural center. Naguib Mahfouz became the first Arabic-speaking Nobel laureate in literature in 1988 and here is the largest film industry in the Arab world.

For three millennia, Pharaonic Egypt flourished during periods known as the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. Culture and science flourished. The country’s influence on other civilizations was great.

Among many who testify to high culture are the pyramids, which are enigmatic tombs, and the sphinx of Giza outside Cairo. The oldest pyramids are located in Sakkarah (near ancient Memphis) south of Cairo. Slightly younger are the great pyramids at Giza. Luxor further south on the Nile contains several famous temples and the rare Kings Valley, where in 1922 Pharaoh Tutankhamon’s richly equipped tomb was found (see Calendar). The items from the tomb can be found in a museum in Cairo. In Abu Simbel, southern Egypt, in the 1960s, a temple with large statues of Pharaoh Ramses II was moved to save a large dam; Swedish engineering companies participated in the move.

Important architectural structures were also created during Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine times.

The Islamic-Arab conquest of the area 642 quickly made its mark on social life. The al-Azharma Mosque was founded in 970, and this is where the foremost educational institution of the Muslim world originated (see Religion and Education).

Through Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt at the end of the 18th century, the country came under French influence. Although the French presence became short, the influence of the West consisted of newly founded schools, scientific institutions and improved communications. On the French initiative, the construction of the Suez Canal, which was inaugurated in 1869., began the construction of a very old dream of a sailing route between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Today’s grand construction project is the ongoing construction of a brand new capital several miles east in the desert from Cairo.

In the district that is sometimes called Khediven’s Cairo, about 350 buildings have been restored since 2014, which in itself also indicates that large parts of the city suffered from long-term decay. The Khedive was Ismail Pascha, ruler of Egypt, though under Ottoman supremacy. In the second half of the 19th century he transformed Cairo into a European-style metropolis. Like many other countries, he was impressed by Paris and the then new boulevard system with wide streets and grand buildings. In Cairo, among other things, a spate of detached houses and alleys was demolished next to older monumental buildings. Now the question is what will happen to Cairo’s “European” heart, which among other things houses state authorities, when the new capital is ready. The middle class has largely already moved to airier suburbs.

In 2002, the new library was opened in Alexandria at the site of the old library before it burned down in the 300s. The old library was built about 2,500 years ago and had borrowers like the Greek Arkimedes. In the fire, priceless cultural works disappeared.

Egyptian literature has evolved over thousands of years. The oldest finds include inscriptions on earthenware and writings on papyrus depicting daily life and religious rituals.

After the Arab conquest, the foundation for an Arabic literature was laid. The Arabic language was given an important culture-bearing role. The Qur’an is written in Arabic and recitation of it and of poetry and stories is still today a highly developed art and a popular pleasure. The popular weekend celebrations are also very colorful, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan, when the neighborhood in the evenings is illuminated by home-made lanterns hanging over the streets. In 2018, a well-known puppet figure, the doll Al-Aragoz, was granted Unesco cultural heritage.

During the 20th century, Egyptian literature from Western-inspired Roman art went to one with a stronger Arabic anchor. This is especially noticeable in Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) and Yusuf Idris (1927–1991). In their books on the poor of the Nile villages and the winding alleys of Cairo, they also carried on a popular storytelling tradition, which made them popular throughout the Arab world.

They have had a successor in Alaa al-Aswany, who had a major breakthrough with the novel Yacoubian’s house (2003) and a few years later was the best-selling author in the Arab world. He is also politically active, and was one of the founders of the opposition movement Kifaya (see Modern History).

Another award-winning author is Nawal El Saadawi, a physician who has become the forefront of the women’s movement throughout the Arab world.

Regime criticism has long been a sensitive chapter for writers and other intellectuals. The censorship formally ceased in 1974 but has in practice been maintained by the security service and by scribes at al-Azhar, who have forced post-censorship of literature and film. Islamist groups have threatened Islamic-critical cultural workers with death. The author Farag Foda was murdered in 1992 by a radical Islamist group and in 1994 Mahfouz was subjected to a murder trial. Many writers and other cultural workers have practiced self-censorship or published abroad.

The visual arts have been important since the pharaohs’ graves were adorned with paintings. In modern times, Egyptian art has been greatly influenced by the Western world. Only in the mid-1990s did Egyptian artists break with these influences. Well-known Egyptian artists are Abdelwahhab Morsi, Adel al-Siwi, Gazbia Serri, Inji Eflatoun and Wahib Nasser.

Music is also an important part of Egyptian life. With song they are called to prayer and the Qur’an is recited singing. In Arabic music improvisation is important. Singer Umm Kulthum (1898-1975) is still regarded by many as the greatest music artist in the Arab world of all time.

One of the film’s most famous stars was the belly dancer Tahiya Karioka (1915-1999). A pioneer behind the success of the film industry was the producer and actor Mary Queeny (1913–2003). The industry’s best known name is the actor Omar Sharif (1932–2015), who starred in a wide range of international films and was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Lawrence of Arabia. Actor Rami Malek highlighted his Egyptian descent when in 2019 he received an Oscar for his starring role in the movie Bohemian Rapsody. He plays rock singer Freddie Mercury, a role that may be sensitive to even commenting in Egypt, where gays state that they are subjected to persecution and the media can be punished when reporting homosexuality.



Choices for the lower house are held

The NDP wins 419 out of 508 seats in the popular assembly. Both al-Wafd (New Delegation Party, see Political system) and formally independent candidates with ties to the banned Muslim Brotherhood claim that cheating is occurring.


Elections to the upper house are held

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) takes 80 of 88 seats at stake in the general election, al-shura.


Protest against extended exemptions

Demonstrations break out in Cairo when the exception laws, which have been in force since 1981, are renewed again.


Mubarak is operated

President Hosni Mubarak spends three weeks in Germany, where he undergoes surgery.


Mohamed ElBaradei forms opposition movement

The former head of the UN Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) returns to Egypt and, together with opposition supporters, forms the National Movement for Change. ElBaradei says he is considering running for the 2011 presidential election.

Egypt Culture

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