When most people think about towns and cities in Egypt they only tend to think of the major cities or the ones associated with tourist attractions, but there are actually more than 200 towns and cities which have populations of over 15,000
Because 90% of Egypt is desert, these towns and cities have grown up either hugging the River Nile, along the shores of the Mediterranean or Red Seas, beside the Suez Canal, or among one of the desert oases. Due to Egypt’s enormous growth of population this has caused many areas to actually be built on sandy areas, rather than the more sustainable soil. Giza is a prime example of this as it slowly moves towards the plateau where the famous pyramids were built.
For administrative purposes Egypt is divided into 27 governorates, which are the top tier of the country’s five-tier jurisdiction hierarchy. Each governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt, serving at the president’s discretion. These governorates have a population density of more than one-thousand per Km², though the 3 largest (Cairo, Alexandria and Giza) have a population density of less than two per Km². They are either fully “urban” or else a mixture of “urban” and “rural”. The official distinction between “urban” and “rural” is reflected in the lower tiers: urban governorates have no regions, or “markaz”, as these are just an assortment of villages. Governorates may, however, comprise of just one city, as in the case of Cairo or Alexandria. These one-city governorates are divided into districts (basically urban neighborhoods); Cairo having 23 districts whilst Alexandria has only 6.