Religion of Egypt: Ancient and Modern

Religion of Ancient Egypt

The religion of Ancient Egypt is one of the most ancient religious systems in the history of mankind. One of the most famous civilizations of ancient times was the Egyptian civilization. In its development, it has come a long way from primitive beliefs to an extremely complex and diverse teaching containing elements of philosophy and morality. Already in the earliest period of their development, which began around the third millennium BC, the Egyptians had a well-developed original belief system.

Thanks to numerous literary, iconographic and hieroglyphic sources, we learn a lot of information not only about the religious system of Egypt, but also about the function of priests in this system, the cult of the pharaohs and, finally, we know about the existence of the pantheon of gods and their meaning ... However, the majestic pyramids and sphinxes, gloomy tombs of priests and pharaohs, mysterious ancient scrolls kept in the rebuilt Alexandria Library, ruins of ancient temples and old quarters of cities still keep the secrets of the past.

The religion of ancient Egypt, like any other religion, was nothing more than a reflection in the minds of people of external forces and natural phenomena that cannot be explained by them. The tribes of the ancient Egyptians worshiped the mysterious forces of nature, heavenly bodies, animals, and the earliest forms of ancient Egyptian religion were fetishism (worship of objects and things that were attributed to supernatural abilities) and totemism (deification of animals). Over time, totemism has evolved into a cult of animals. Deification took place either of the animal itself, or of an anthropomorphic deity (half-human-half-animal) with a part of the animal's body.

Priests of Ancient Egypt

Pharaoh was organizing a religious cult, but not personally, but with the help of a special social group of priests. At the same time, they were an important factor in the implementation of the sacralization of power, and also were the intellectual elite in the state.

The priests had knowledge of natural phenomena, and one of the achievements of the Egyptian priests was the introduction of an annual division into 12 months and 365 days. Possessing high medical knowledge, they perfected the technology of body embalming. The priests occupied a privileged position in the state, which was expressed, in particular, in tax benefits and exemption from public works. Some temples, thanks to their ownership and influence, acquired a very important economic position in the state, there were cases when priests competed with each other to obtain the right to serve an important deity. The greatest influence of the priests was achieved during the reign of the nineteenth and twentieth dynasties of Egypt.

Since ancient Egypt was a state in which the life of every member of society was completely dependent on the power of the pharaoh and the priests, it is quite natural that the religion of ancient Egypt was a key instrument of control over society. The priests had almost unlimited power, and very often the high priest played the role of "gray cardinal" at court, since he had unlimited influence over the pharaoh.

The beliefs of the Egyptians pay great attention to the cult of the dead, so the system of beliefs in the afterlife is highly developed. According to their belief, death is not the end of existence, but only its transformation; it was believed that life after death could be happier than earthly existence. Researchers have gained a lot of information on beliefs in the afterlife by studying the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Mummification of the dead

According to Egyptian beliefs, the fate of the human soul depends on how a person lived on earth, after death, each soul appeared before the judgment of Osiris (god of the underworld), who decided whether the soul would live forever in constant blessing and pleasure or not.

An important factor giving the soul hope for eternal happiness was the fact that the body of the deceased was preserved for an immortal soul - hence the practice of mummification of corpses. Herodotus in his works mentioned three ways of embalming bodies: only the pharaoh could afford the most expensive way, and even the lowest servant could afford the cheapest embalming. The embalming process took place in the following order:

  • The corpses were thoroughly washed,
  • The brain was removed from the skull using a metal hook,
  • The abdominal cavity was opened with a special knife, the internal organs were removed, they were then placed in separate vases,
  • The body was salted for one month,
  • The body was dried for seventy days.

Egypt is one of the countries where tourist flows are not decreasing. People come here at any time of the year and even in summer, when it is very hot. Due to the dry climate, such a high temperature is tolerated much easier than +25 with high humidity. But the point here is not even entirely in the climate of Egypt, but in the fact that many people like the Red Sea rich in coral reefs, here you can not only do snorkeling, but also feel the beauty of diving, in other words, try diving. The main thing is to choose a reliable instructor who speaks good Russian. In Egypt, alas, one in three is a diving instructor, but most often such an instructor does not have any permits for training tourists in this dangerous sport. Egypt, like any other country, has its own number of pros and cons. I will try to tell you about them in more detail.

Why is it worth going to rest in Egypt.

  • Simplified entry into Egypt for citizens of the Russian Federation. It is enough to buy a brand upon arrival and that's it. This makes the task much easier for those who, for some reason, are not ready to collect large packages of documents for obtaining a visa.
  • Red Sea. Today it is still considered one of the cleanest seas with a rich underwater world, as a result, every tourist can see all this beauty with his own eyes.
  • Availability of both sandy and coral beaches. All tourists go to Egypt for a different beach vacation. Someone wants to have a good gentle entry into the sea, while someone is interested in the presence of reefs directly near the coast. In Egypt, in this regard, what is good is that any tourist can satisfy their need for a beach without any problems. As a result, as a rule, everyone is satisfied. Sometimes there are hotels that have a sandy entry into the sea and their own coral reef.
  • There are excellent opportunities for children to relax in Egypt. This is the presence of water slides directly in the hotels themselves, playgrounds, animations, mini clubs and much more. Children will always find something to do. Experienced animators will help them with this. Most of these employees are Russian citizens.
  • No language barrier. Almost all the personnel involved in serving tourists understand and speak Russian perfectly. Therefore, going on vacation to Egypt, there is no need to raise your level of English, fearing that if something happens, no one will be able to understand you.
  • A rich excursion program of world renown. It makes no sense to talk about it for a long time, each of us knows very well such sights: the Pyramids of Giza, Luxor, Karnak Temple, Mount Moses and many others.

Karnak Temple in Luxor

  • All inclusive meals. I attribute it to the pluses, although I myself am not a big fan of this concept. However, within the framework of Egypt, most likely this is still a plus.
  • You can rest in Egypt at any time. There are, of course, its own peculiarities in the climate, but the tourist season here lasts a whole year.
  • A wide range of hotels from basic to high-end. This is true, you can fly to Egypt both as economically as possible and for very big money. Of course, there is a huge number of hotels designed for the middle class.
  • Any category of tourists can rest in Egypt, this also applies to noisy active young people who want to have fun at sunset. Almost every hotel has its own disco, by the way, and at the tourist resorts themselves there are nightclubs where dance lovers come every evening, but such establishments are already dominated by a large number of local male residents who want to meet. Often, their attention can be very intrusive.

Cons of rest in Egypt.

  • Food. While vacationing in this country, you need to be as vigilant as possible in terms of food choices. This applies to all places in the hotel buffet and in the restaurant in the city. It is very easy to get poisoned in Egypt.
  • Local water. It is also dangerous for the belly of tourists, especially for children. You should only brush your teeth with bottled water, and also exclude ice. As a rule, it is made from tap water.
  • Obsessive traders. Going outside the hotel, you will encounter the real concept of "intrusive service". Each salesperson will consider it their duty to comment on your presence. If you go somewhere, then without a purchase they will try not to let you go.
  • Product prices are initially overstated. In Egypt, you have to bargain. Each seller initially inflates the price in order to eventually drop to the real one.
  • Local all-inclusive alcoholic drinks of very low quality, be careful.

Benefits of a holiday in Egypt

Turkey and Egypt have been the most attractive resort countries for Russian tourists for a couple of decades. Let's talk about the second one. From the point of view of tourism, the state has undeniable advantages.

First, there are climatic conditions. Egypt is located primarily on the African continent (and partly in Asia). The climate here is tropical and subtropical, and therefore, it is always warm here, and even very hot in summer. That is why Egypt, as a beach destination, attracts travelers all year round. By this, for example, this direction is winning against the same Turkey, where the "finish season" begins at the end of October. In Egypt, you can also swim in January and February.

Third, the cost of the rest. At the moment, a trip to Egypt is perhaps the most budgetary option for those wishing to relax at sea. In the recent past, holidays in Turkey and Egypt were in about the same price range. However, due to political instability in Egypt, accompanied by armed conflicts, some tourists are afraid to visit this country. Therefore, demand decreased slightly, which led to an inevitable decrease in prices for tours. I'll make a reservation right away that many of my friends and acquaintances continue to travel to Egypt, no matter what the circumstances, and rejoice at the drop in prices. According to them, the political life in the country with all its troubles does not affect the tourist life in any way. None of the familiar travelers noticed even a hint of discomfort. That is, in resort areas everything is still quiet and calm.

The religion of Egypt has a 4000-year history. During this time, civilization has gone from paganism and polytheism to monistic beliefs. What religion is practiced in Egypt today and what norms of behavior are adopted in this regard during their stay in the country.

History of Ancient Egypt

In ancient times, polytheism was accepted in Egypt. Worship was carried out by a number of cults, the central of which were Ra, Isis, Osiris. The ancient Egyptians believed in the other world and the last judgment, at which their hearts would be weighed: good and bad deeds committed while living on earth. The size of the land allotment and the privileges in the afterlife depended on the fate assigned. The soul in the minds of the Egyptians was endowed with immortality. The essence of Ka lived in the graves, and it was strictly forbidden to disturb its peace. The texts of the prayers were applied to the papyri and the walls of the tombs of royalty. Later they were combined by Egyptologists into a collection - "The Book of the Dead". After the discovery of the French scientist Champollion, the meaning of the hieroglyphs was able to read the ancient scriptures.

Pharaoh Akhenaten became the first reformer, advocating the abolition of numerous cults and the worship of one God - the Sun of Ra. During his reign, temples with sanctuaries were destroyed for sacrifice and ceremonies of pagan holidays. In the northern part of the country in the Nile Delta, the city of Amarna was created, abandoned after the end of Akhenaten's reign.

History of Egyptian Religion: Akhenaten Period

Judaism, like other monistic religions from Abraham, originated on the banks of the Nile. Moses served at the court of the pharaoh, and then he made a trip to the Promised Land, leading people through the desert for 40 years. A new generation of free people was to be born.

451 BC ... is considered the official date of the adoption of Christianity by Egypt. The Coptic religion, originating from the early Gospel of Mark, came from the Roman Empire. Currently, about 10% of Christian Copts live in the country. Ancient shrines are preserved in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities of the country. One of them is the "Hanging Church" in the capital, famous for the fact that the Virgin Mary and little Jesus were hiding in it, fleeing from the persecution of Herod. The church has retained its old appearance, but has undergone several reconstructions. The name of the temple comes from the design features - the whole building is supported by two central beams.

In 640, the Arab conquest of Egypt began. Most of the population converted to Islam, which was later proclaimed the official state religion. Cairo is home to the key university for the study of Islam in the East - El-Azhar. In the center of the capital, the oldest mosques of El-Hossein, Muhamed Ali, Al-Hakim, and the Blue Mosque, preserved in their original form, are available for review.

Related: Foundations of the Ancient Religion of Egypt

In Egypt, representatives of different religions have existed peacefully for many centuries. Last year, the new President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Sisi, congratulated the Coptic Church on Christmas Day. Copts belong to Orthodox Christians, Epiphany, Easter and other significant days on the calendar coincide with the Russian Church.

Features of the religion of Egypt

Peculiarities of Egypt's Religion: Differences of the Coptic Church

Egyptian Mosques. Tour of Cairo photoWhen visiting a church in Egypt, religious rites are carried out in the following order:

Tourism has several main directions, and pilgrimage is far from the last place in all the variety of opportunities. For example, in France, more than 60 percent of the monuments are under state protection and are religious sites. It is also interesting to note that in Russia over the past 3-4 years the number of religious tours has begun to increase rapidly. The so-called Golden Ring is becoming more popular every year.

Cognitive Pilgrimage

Initially, it should be said that pilgrimage and religious tourism are popular not only among adherents of a particular religion. Many tourists are simply interested in looking at historical buildings, temples and ancient heritage. Most often, tours are purchased to the following countries: Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and, of course, Israel. In Italy, the city of Rome is in great demand, in Egypt - the pyramids of Cheops, and Israel is popular as the capital of Jerusalem. Probably everyone has heard about these countries, but not everyone has been there. In this regard, these areas have always been very popular, and this trend is likely to continue.

Ancient cities like Jerusalem gather a large number of religious leaders from all over the world due to their ancient heritage. Here three main religions have merged together. Perhaps this is one of the few places where there is no enmity between religious communities and everyone respects the faith of others. Such tours are especially popular on religious holidays and certain sacred dates. On such days, tens of thousands of people from all over the world fly to the Eastern countries to take part in the celebrations.

Tourism specifics

If you are not well versed in religion, we advise you to be careful and study well the country you are traveling to. So, Islamic countries are very demanding of foreigners. Some violations are followed by a fine, caning or imprisonment. Also, restrictions may apply to food. A prime example is pork, which is prohibited among Jews and Muslims. It is not uncommon for tourists to get to the post, which will affect the food sold and the amount of entertainment.

However, countries such as Turkey or Egypt are more loyal to tourists, since the economy is mainly based on the tourism sector. The exception is Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, where they strictly respect their traditions, laws and faith.

Megaliths are one of the oldest structures on our planet. They were built in the 4th-3rd century BC and are located in different parts of the world. Some tourists turn a blind eye to all the inconveniences in order to visit such structures and take memorable pictures.

When tourists go to Egypt, they usually expect to see pyramids, statues of pharaohs and other monuments of ancient pagan beliefs.

At the same time, not everyone knows that revered Christian shrines can be found in this country, despite the clear dominance of Islam in it.

The fact is that Christianity has long been considered the state religion of Egypt, and the Coptic Church is one of the most ancient Christian Churches in the world.

Nowadays Egypt is an Islamic state

What religion prevails among the Egyptians can be found out by studying the information on the ethnic composition of the population of Egypt. Currently, mainly Arabs live on its territory. And that is why the bulk of its population speaks Arabic.

They are Sunni Muslims. In addition, there are Christians and representatives of other religions in the country.

Row of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Egypt is a secular state, but Islam is considered its main religion. Photo: upload. ikimedia. rg

According to various sources, approximately 90% of Egyptians profess Islam, and he became the official state religion under President Anwar Sadat, who ruled the strange from 1970 to 1981.

It was then that Sharia became the main source of law in the state. Islam now has a much greater influence on the family and society than Christianity. At the same time, it operates in a relaxed form in the country.

Despite the fact that Egypt is a secular state, its capital Cairo is famous for its numerous mosques and minarets and therefore is considered a city of 1000 minarets.

Christians consider the ancient religion of Egypt to be pagan

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