There has long been a fascination in Britain with the world of ancient Egypt. What is it about this mysterious civilisation that so catches the imagination?
Five thousand years ago the chain of independent city-states lining the River Nile united to form one long, thin country ruled by one king, or pharaoh. Almost instantly a highly distinctive culture developed. For almost 30 centuries Egypt remained the foremost nation in the Mediterranean world. Then, in 332 BC, the arrival of Alexander the Great heralded the end of the Egyptian way of life.
The unique culture was quickly buried beneath successive layers of Greek, Roman and Arabic tradition, and all knowledge of Egypt's glorious past was lost. Only the decaying stone monuments, their hieroglyphic texts now unreadable, survived as silent witnesses to a long lost civilisation.
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