Before the Arab invasion in 641, Egypt was a Christian country, but over 500 years, most Egyptians converted to the Muslim faith. At the same time, about 10% of the population remained Christians. They are called Copts.
According to official figures today, 90% of Egyptians are Muslims and about 10% are Copts professing Christianity.
There are no physical, linguistic or cultural differences between Copts and Muslims. Members of both communities proudly call themselves Egyptians and get along well with each other.
It is generally accepted that St. Mark brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st century. From the Greeks and Jews who lived in Alexandria, Christianity soon spread among the local population, where it got along well with the ancient Egyptian concepts of rebirth and the afterlife. The monastic tradition also originated in Egypt and subsequently had a profound spiritual impact on the entire world.
Over time, the Coptic Church closed in on itself and preserved ancient rituals. However, she is now experiencing a rebirth, expanding the circles of her flock and, in a new spirit of ecumenism, expanding ties with Christian churches around the world.
Egyptian Muslims are overwhelmingly Sunni. Unlike the Shiites, who argue that the next caliph, the successor to the Prophet, should be appointed by succession, the Sunnis prefer a democratic choice procedure.
The churches in Egypt do not look quite familiar: the architecture, colors, and interior furnishings differ from the churches of other countries in their asceticism.
The identification mark of the Copt is a cross tattooed on the inside of the wrist, and Copts do not wear pectoral crosses.
Devout Muslims do not consume alcohol, although they do not object to moderate consumption by others.
If you are in doubt about drinking or not drinking, it is better to ask permission. In addition to prohibiting alcohol, believers do not use drugs or eat pork, which is considered dirty food. Sexually explicit material — magazines, photographs, videos or literature — is illegal and subject to confiscation.
Be aware that converting to a faith other than Muslims and Christians is illegal in Egypt. Foreigners actively working to convert the Egyptians to another faith were asked to leave the country.
Remember that almost all Egyptians are conservatives and are divided into Muslims and Copts.
Egypt has certain restrictions and regulations for women. For example, the queue for tickets will be divided into two lines — men and women. When boarding a vehicle, women must also stand in a separate queue and occupy the front seats in the cabin. On the subway, the first car is usually reserved exclusively for women.
For a man, talking to an unknown Egyptian woman is a violation of etiquette. Be very considerate and respectful of the woman in conversation, because many families still follow ancient traditions.
On the territory of the hotel, you can dress at your own discretion, but when entering the city, remember that Egypt is an Islamic country, people here are believers, traditions are Puritan.
Bare shoulders and mini skirts are very inappropriate for street walks. It is best to wear a long skirt and a closed-necked blouse.
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