Egypt covers a relatively small area, yet is home to some 78 million people. About half of the population is under 18 years old. Outside the metropolis of Cairo life is lived in the towns and villages along the Nile or on the islands in the river. The Nile Valley is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Almost a quarter of the population lives in and around the capital Cairo and there is a continuous drift from the country to the cities. The population is a mixture with origins in the Middle East, Africa and around the Mediterranean. Anthropologists distinguish three main groups. The first consists of the descendants of the Hamito-Semitic race that has lived in the Nile Delta for thousands of years. This ethnic group includes the Berbers, who populate the western desert and speak their own language. The second group are the Bedouin who are desert-dwelling, Arab nomads. You will mainly see them in the Sinai desert. The third ethnic group is the Nubian race, mainly living in the south of Egypt. You will mostly find them around Aswan and Kom Ombo. They are the original population of southern Egypt and Sudan and have partly held on to their own culture, including the exciting music. The Egyptians are traders. During the pharaonic period they already had contacts and commercial exchanges with other peoples. Around 330 BC Alexander the Great established the city of Alexandria, which marked the beginning of Hellenism, a blend of Greek and Oriental cultures. Romans and Byzantines left their traces here around the beginning of the Christian era. During the Middle Ages the area was ruled by the Arab caliphs of the Omayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid and Mamluks. Between 1882 and 1952 Egypt was part of the immense British Empire. There are traces of all of these influences in Egypt's incredibly rich culture, which you will see at first hand on this tour.