Egypt Major Cities

Important cities

The capital Cairo lies at the beginning of the Nile Delta and separates the north (Lower Egypt) from the south (Upper Egypt).

The most important cities in Lower Egypt are Alexandria (4.6 million) and Marsa Matruh (125,000) on the Mediterranean, Port Said (620,000) at the Suez Canal mouth, Mansoura (485,000), Tanta (465,000) and the textile industry cities Mahalla El Kubra (485 thousand) and Kafr El Dawar (125 thousand) in the Nile Delta, Suez (550 thousand) and Ismailiya (325 thousand) on the Suez Canal.

According to aristmarketing, Fayoum is the provincial capital of the semi-oasis Fayoum (350 thousand) west of Cairo.

El Minia (260 thousand), Assiut (430 thousand), Luxor (225 thousand) and Aswan (295 thousand) are in Upper Egypt.

El Arish (150 thousand) is a city in northern Sinai on the Mediterranean Sea, Sharm El Sheikh (40 thousand), Dahab (15 thousand) and Nuweiba (3 thousand) are on the east side of southern Sinai.

Hurghada (175 thousand), Safaga (35 thousand), Quseir (38 thousand) and Marsa Allam (6 thousand) are coastal cities on the Red Sea.

Siwa (18 thousand), El Kharga (Kharga oasis, 60 thousand) and Mut (Dakhla oasis, 22 thousand) are located in the oases in the western desert.

Current and background information on Egyptian provinces and cities can be found on the following websites:

  • Website of the Egyptian government with links to the websites of the various governorates
  • Wikipedia List of the most important cities in Egypt with population information and links to Wikipedia entries about individual cities
  • List of Egyptian provinces and cities with current information on area and population

Informal settlements

The housing shortage is not just a major barrier to marriage and starting a family. A lack of living space also leads to informal settlement. The plots are usually state desert land that is simply occupied and illegally built on, or agricultural land that is informally divided into building sites, sold and populated. More than 60% of Cairo’s residents live in such informal neighborhoods, which cover more than half the area of the city. Inadequate infrastructure and a lack of services characterize everyday life in informal settlements. However, it is not only poor Cairns who live there. The largest informal settlements are currently in Cairo and Alexandria, but informal construction is also taking place in other Egyptian cities. In 2006, an estimated 18-20 million Egyptians lived in informal or so-called “squatter” settlements. The informal construction sector is well organized and consists of a network of surveyors, brokers, Lawyers and contractors who specialize in the challenges of illegal settlement and the needs of their clients. They often have contacts in the public administration, which makes it easier to connect to the public infrastructure in return for appropriate extra-legal remuneration and, at the crucial moment, simply closes their eyes. There are multi-story houses that were being pulled up in a hurry during the multi-day holidays. One can observe how a column of trucks with building materials drives up to such a company and an army of workers at night in the light of high-performance headlights carries out various construction work in parallel. All work steps are precisely planned. In 1996 the government passed two laws who criminalized illegal building and punished them with heavy fines and imprisonment. However, the law only had a short-term effect. The revolution was also used by many to illegally build houses. Although slum settlements are evacuated again and again, many approaches have been developed in recent years to work creatively and together with the population on solutions to the problems in these settlements. In addition to projects with the support of international donors, some local organizations are also active in this area. One of the most creative in this field is ADAPT, an association of socially oriented architects who have been working with local NGOs and other actors on the rehabilitation of informal settlements for years. They develop inexpensive and at the same time environmentally friendly building materials and construction methods, train local residents in construction and management activities and set up social, economic and cultural projects.

The capital Cairo

Satellite cities and “gated communities”

The mega-metropolis of Cairo will retain its economic, political and cultural importance for the foreseeable future. The population pressure on the city will therefore continue for the foreseeable future. 45% of all jobs in the public sector and 40% of all jobs in the private sector in Egypt are located in Cairo. Around half of the gross national product and 40% of all industrial products are produced here. Efforts have therefore been made since the late 1970’s to relieve Cairo and other large urban agglomerations by building new urban centers and satellite cities. Eight new cities and several satellite settlements have emerged around Cairo alone. The management of the new cities is in the hands of the New Urban Communities Authority. The new cities should actually attract millions of people but so far demand has been hesitant. Only in the last few years have some new settlements, especially 6th of October City, become more attractive and have seen significant influx rates. Many poorer Egyptians miss an established social structure in the new cities that guarantees social support in everyday and crisis situations. Job opportunities in the informal sector and cheap public transport are also in short supply.

For many wealthy and wealthy Egyptians it has become fashionable to live in a villa in one of the so-called ” gated communities ” with access control, gardens and sports facilities as well as privileged internal infrastructure and services. The construction investment companies advertise apartments in such “communities” in large advertising campaigns. After the revolution, many details of corruption scandals in land allocation for such projects came to light.

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