Nearly 90 million people call Egypt home, making the country the most populous in the Middle East and one of the most populous in the world. That said, the population density is strikingly lopsided, highest along the Nile River and the coastline and sparse indeed in the vast deserts. Arabic, and specifically Egyptian Arabic, is the dominant tongue. Egypt's culture draws from the country's regal history, its position at the junction of North Africa and the Middle East, and plenty of inspiration from Western sources. There's an amazing tradition of art, literature, music, and dance in Egypt, and some of its great artists have become international icons: among them the legendary actor Omar Sharif and the evocative singer Umm Kulthum (who has earned high praise from many luminaries, including Bob Dylan). Whether it's a traditional belly-dance performance or the latest round of the much-respected Cairo International Film Festival, Egypt promises a culturally rich experience, to say the least.