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Approximately half of Egypt's population lives in urban areas, the majority of them in the country's largest cities of Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza, but there are more than two hundred cities and towns with populations above fifteen thousand.

Because ninety percent of the country is uninhabitable desert, Egypt's cities and towns are along the Mediterranean shore, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, or along the River Nile, although a few towns are supported by scattered desert oases.

As Egypt's population has been steadily moving from rural villages to major urban centers for fifty years or more, many areas have been developed on sandy areas rather than on more substantial soil.

Historically, Egypt didn't have a strong urban population. Cities were often developed during the construction of pyramids or other large buildings. Its capital city moved from site to site, depending on the Pharaoh. Egypt didn't develop large urban areas until the founding of Alexandria after Alexander's invasion of Egypt in 333 BC. A more recent push toward urbanization developed as people began moving from rural villages into city centers.

Administratively, Egypt is divided into twenty-seven governorates, each with a capital and at least one city. Its governorates are themselves arranged into regions that contain the towns and villages. The village is the smallest unit in rural areas and the equivalent of a district in an urban area. Unlike some countries, governor and municipal heads are appointed rather than elected.

Egypt's largest cities are Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Shubra El Kheima, Port Said, Suez, El Mahalla El Kubra, Luxor, Mansoura, and Tanta, which have populations that range from around five-hundred-thousand to close to seven million, Cairo being the 15th-largest city in the world.





New Cairo



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