Egypt, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the northern border of Sudan, dates back 5000 years. Although diverse in regional characteristics, modern Egyptians share a similar ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity with citizens of Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Egyptians speak Arabic as a common language. Arabic is taught in schools and is the language of the media and government. Educated Egyptians also speak and understand English and French, languages of international commerce and diplomacy. Although not as common, approximately 300,000 Egyptians speak Nobii, a Nubian language, and approximately 250,00 Egyptians living in the Luxor region speak Domari.
Approximately 90 per cent of Egyptians practice the Islamic faith. In Egypt, Islam influences law, education and culture. The country boasts thousands of mosques, the most famous of which were constructed during the period of 250 years when Egypt was under Ottoman rule. About 9 per cent of Egyptians practice the Coptic faith and one per cent practice the Christian faith.
Religion influences Egyptian customs and culture. Although fashionable in the way they dress, Egyptian women choose to cover their hair with colourful scarfs or the traditional black veil in deference to the culture. Generally speaking, men and women do not socialise in public and are expected to display good manners at all times.