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Aswan

Aswan, Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Small enough to walk' around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening to Nubian music and eating freshly-caught fish.

Here the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets; view the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel. Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all.

  • Main Tourist Sites
  • Map of Aswan and Nubia

Main Tourist Sites:

Elephantine Island: One of the strongest forts along Egypt's southern borders, this island lies opposite to the "Cataract Hotel". Its chief deity was "Khnum", in the shape of a ram's head. The tourist is advised to first tour the island before visiting its monuments and museum.

The Island Temples: There are ruins of several stone temples from various periods. The inscriptions on the pylon of a hall in the southern temple depict Alexander II as king of Egypt while offering sacrifices to the local deities.

The Museum: Located east of the old city, the museum houses a number of important relics from Graeco-Roman times, collected from Aswan and Nubia.

The Nilometre: Dating to the Roman period, the Nilometre shows the height of the Nile floods in Greek, Demotic and Arabic, and was used until very recently.

The Gilika Island: This island now houses the Temple and relics of Philae island that was submerged by the waters of the High Dam. The Temple of Philae was dismantled and re-assembled on this island which lies about 500 meters from the original Philae Island. Sound and Light Spectacle is performed in various languages. 

The Agha Khan Mausoleum: The Mausoleum of the late leader of the Ismaili sect stands on the west bank opposite them Cataract Hotel. It is an exquisite example of Fatimid architecture.
Plantation Island : Lies mid-stream, near Elephantine Island, is a natural exhibition of equatorial and tropical trees and shrubs. 
Amun Island : A small island on which a tourist hotel was built.

Tombs of the Nobles: These rock-tombs are hewn in the western hills, opposite the northern tip of Aswan, and date back to the 23rd century B.C. The inscriptions covering The walls of these tombs depict the role of these nobles in protecting the land, and of their journeys to the interior of Africa. The Monastery of St Simeon (Deir Amba Sama'an): Dating back to the 6th century AD, the Monastery is one of the most intact Coptic monasteries, It comprises a church with paintings showing Christ and the Saints.

The Unfinished Obelisk: This huge unfinished obelisk measures 41 meters in length and 4 meters square at the base. It is important because it shows the techniques adopted by the Ancient Egyptians in cutting out these obelisks.

Amun Village: On the west bank, and overlooking Lake Nasser, the 48-acre village comprises a tourist hotel, with a main restaurant and an Italian restaurant, a fully-equipped therapeutic center, and 352 bungalows (chalets) built on Nubian architectural lines.

From Nubia Temples:

The Temple of Kalabsha: Dating back to the Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus (30 BC-14 AD), the temple was moved from its original site 55 kms south of Aswan, on the west bank, and rebuilt near the High Dam. It is one of the largest sandstone temples in Nubia. Its walls are covered with texts and inscriptions depicting Egyptian deities such as Isis, Osiris and others.

Beit el-Waly Temple: This rock-hewn temple is one of the five temples built by Ramses II in Nubia. It comprises a courtyard, a hypostyle hail, and a kiosk, with multicoloured texts and inscriptions, as well as scenes of the King in the battlefield.

Features of modern Aswan:

The Aswan Dam: Built in 1902 AD south of Aswan, it signaled the beginning of modern irrigation in Egypt.

The High Dam: This 20th century engineering miracle is one of the largest dams in the world, and was built to safeguard Egypt against the high Nile floods which either destroyed large tracts of land or ran wastefully into the Mediterranean. The dam, 111 meters above sea-level, is 3,600 meters long and 40 meters wide at the top.

There are several other monuments in the Governorate of Aswan: 

The Temple of Kom-Ombo: Located in the town of Kom-Ombo, 45 kms north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.  

The Temple of Edfu The Temple of Edfu: This huge and exquisite Temple, from the Ptolemic period, and devoted to the god, Horus, is located at the town of Edfu, 123 kms north of Aswan.


Alexandria : Cairo : Luxor : Aswan : Abu Simbel 


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