29. Who is this contemporary of and equal in popularity to Elvis Presley?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #29
Umm Kulthum was the most treasured singer in the Middle East of the twentieth century. Called alternately The Voice of Egypt, The Mother of Egypt, or simply The Lady, she has been described as having “the musicality of Ella Fitzgerald, the public presence of Eleanor Roosevelt and the audience of Elvis Presley.”
Her repertoire encompassed themes such as love, patriotism, nature and religion. It is reported that her funeral in 1975 drew more than two million people into the streets of Cairo.
“It’s Not the Heat but the Cupidity” was the title of a Holiday Magazine article by humorist and travel columnist S. J. Perelman, who had found offense in the age-old Egyptian custom of soliciting baksheesh. Roughly equivalent to a tip, the pursuit of baksheesh in Egypt may range from alms-seeking by the desperately poor, to aggressive angling for a gratuity by taxi drivers, to unabashed extortion by corrupt bureaucrats.
27. In the year 1 A.D., what were the three tallest man-made objects in the world?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #27
The 3 tallest structures as of 1 A.D. were all in Egypt.
The Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops in Greek) measures 146.7 m and was built around 2550 B.C. It is also known as The Great Pyramid of Giza and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.
The Pyramid of Khafra (Chephren in Greek) measures 143.5 m. It is the second tallest and oldest of the three large pyramids of the Giza Necropolis. Khafra succeeded his father, Khufu, as pharaoh. He is widely believed to have overseen the building of the Sphinx.
The Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria is estimated to have been 120-140m tall. Also ranked among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was constructed around 280 B.C. and stood until the fourteenth century when it was toppled by an earthquake.
26. Why do some Egyptian men have a dark area on their foreheads?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #26
The spot is called a prayer bump or zebiba, meaning “raisin” in Arabic. It is a discoloring of the skin or callus that forms as the result of a prostrating Muslim’s head repeatedly rubbing the mat during prayer. An observant Muslim may perform 34 prostrations (sajdahs) daily. Consequently the prayer bump is sometimes regarded as a sign of piety.
The man with the zebiba in the photo is Mohammed Badie, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.
U.S. President, Barack Obama and Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. The photo was taken on the occasion of President Obama’s visit to Cairo in June 2009. After delivering an historic speech entitled “A New Beginning” at Cairo University, Mr. Obama toured the Pyramids and Sphinx with Mr. Hawass.
Dubbed “Egypt’s Indiana Jones,” Zahi Hawass has been criticized for showboating, but his tireless promotion of Egypt’s antiquities has increased international awareness and boosted tourism revenue. Reacting to fallout from the Jan. 25 Revolution, Mr. Hawass announced his resignation this week.
24. This Egypt location is revered by Christians and Jews as the site of a sacred revelation. To most Muslims it is among the five holiest places in the world. Where is it?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #24
Mount Sinai (Gebel Musa or Mountain of Moses in Arabic) is identified with the biblical Mount Horeb where Moses spent 40 days and received the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments. Mount Sinai is one of few places in the Quran specifically mentioned as a holy place. It is regarded as one of the four holiest sites by Sunni Muslims.
The nationalization of the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956 (١٩٥٦/٧/٢٦ in Arabic). This move by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, while arguably legal according to international law (Suez Canal Company stockholders were promised compensation), led to the week-long Suez War between Egypt and combined forces of Israel, Britain and France. The conflict ended when Israel, Britain and France bowed to pressure from the U.S. and USSR and withdrew.
Today the canal is among Egypt’s main sources of income after tourism.
22. When one of Egypt’s 8 million Copts meets a western-looking visitor, it is not unusual for him to announce “I am Christian” and point to something. What does he point to?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #22
To confirm his identity, he may point to the cross tattooed to the inside of his right wrist. It is customary for Coptic Christians to get these tattoos at an early age as an expression of faith and unity.
20. The video clip below is from a performance of what musical masterwork?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #20
Aida. In 1871 Isma’il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, commissioned renowned opera composer Giuseppe Verdi to create the work Aida for debut at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo. Set in ancient Egypt, it is a romantic tragedy revolving around an Egyptian general’s love for the enslaved Ethiopian princess, Aida.
The scenario for the opera was created by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.