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Discover Magical Aswan

Egypt's southernmost city sits on the banks of the Nile, decorated with flotillas of white-sailed feluccas. Over the centuries, Aswan has been a garrison town and frontier city; the gateway to Africa and Nubia; a prosperous marketplace at the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes; and, more recently, a popular winter resort.

Discover magical Aswan

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» Abu Simbel Temple

Abu Simbel Temple, Aswan

Built by Ramesse II in 13th BC, the two temples at Abu Simbel are perhaps the best known and most visited ancient sites in Egypt after the Pyramids of Giza. In the 1960s, they were moved to higher ground after the flood caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser. There is a daily light and sound show at the temple which is impressive if a little high-tech and non-ancient …

» Aswan Botanic Garden

Aswan Botanic Garden, Aswan

Designed by Lord Kitchener, the 16-acre Aswan Botanic Gardens is home to trees, flowers and plants from India, Africa and even the world beyond. Travelers can relax in the wide-open spaces of this garden's breathtaking natural beauty or wind through the extensive exhibit hall of towering palm trees. More than 400 species of subtropical vegetation exist in this urban oasis that's just a Nile cruise away …

» Aswan High Dam

Aswan High Dam, Aswan

Built in the 1960s, the Aswan High Dam was an engineering marvel at the time and changed the face of Egypt. It increased the cultivable land by 30% and doubled Egypt's available electricity supply. It also created Lake Nasser, at the time the world's largest artificial lake, which would have covered the important Abu Simbel Temple monuments if not for the support of UNESCO and a worldwide appeal for funds to move them to higher ground, a massive feat which was successfully achieved …

» Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island, Aswan

Elephantine Island is the site of ancient Abu (meaning both elephant and ivory in ancient Egyptian), both names a reminder of the island's once important ivory trade. At the beginning of the 1st dynasty (about 3,000 BC) a fortress was built on the island to establish Egypt's southern frontier. Abu soon became an important customs point and trading center. It remained strategically significant throughout the Pharaonic period as a departure point for the military and commercial expeditions into Nubia and the south …

» Lake Nasser

Lake Nasser, Aswan

Named after the Egyptian President who started the process, Lake Nasser is a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam which effectively modernised Egypt, doubling its electic supply and significantly increasing the amount of agricultural land. Between 1958 and 1970, the Nile River was dammed, causing much controversy, and forming Lake Nasser (83% of which is in Egypt, the rest lying in Sudan and called Lake Nubia). The lake is 340 miles (550 km) long, and 22 miles (35 km) across at its widest point …

» Nubian Museum

Nubian Museum, Aswan

The Nubian Museum is a showcase of the history, art and culture of Nubia and is a real treat. Established in 1997, in cooperation with Unesco, the museum is a reminder of the history and culture of the Nubians , much of which was lost when Lake Nasser flooded their land after the building of the dams. Exhibits are beautifully displayed in huge halls, where clearly written explanations take you from 4,500 BC through to the present day. At the entrance to the main exhibition hall is a model of the Nile Valley and the main temple sites …

» Nubian Village

Nubian Village, Aswan

Sandwiched between the ruins of Abu and the Mövenpick resort hotel are two colorful Nubian Villages, Siou and Koti. Strolling through their shady alleys and gardens is a wonderful way to experience life on modern Elephantines. A north-south path across the middle of Elephantine Island links the two villages and about halfway along is the Nubian Café, with a shady garden beside a traditional Nubian house. Close to the wall separating the Mövenpick from Siou village is Nubian House, where the owner serves tea, sells Nubian handicrafts …

» Philae Temple

Philae Temple, Aswan

Philae was a holy island in the Nile River where the ancient Egyptians built a temple to the goddess Isis. With the projects to dam the Nile - first with the Aswan Dam, then later in the 1960s with the High Aswan Dam - the island became increasingly submerged and the temple threatened. As part of UNESCO's project to rescue the ancient monuments threatened by the river damming, the island was itself dammed, surrounded by a high wall, until all the water was gone and the building could be cut into sections and moved. The project took 10 years …

» St Simeon Monastery

St Simeon Monastery, Aswan

The fortress-like 7th century Monastery of St. Simeon was first dedicated to the 4th century local saint Abba Hedra, who renounced the world on his wedding day. It was rebuilt in the 10th century and dedicated to St. Simeon. From here the monks traveled into Nubia, in the hope of converting the Nubians to Christianity, until Salah ad-Din destroyed the monastery in 1173. Surrounded by desert sands, the monastery was built on two levels, the lower level of stone and the upper level of mud brick, surrounded by 10 meter (3 foot) high walls …

» Temple of Kalabsha

Temple of Kalabsha, Aswan

Built as a tribute to the Lower Nubian sun god, Mandulis, Temple of Kalabsha is one of Egypt's numerous ancient and historic structures and a prime destination for travelers looking to step back into the country's incredible past. Built during the rule of Augustus around 30 BC, Kalabsh is known for its ornate stone carvings and ancient records inscribed on the temple walls. The temple was moved to its current location at New Kalabsha in 1970 and is in close proximity to the Kiosk of Qertassi and Beit al-Wali …

» Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo, Aswan

Dating from 180BC, this is an unusual temple because it is duplicated, mirroring itself on either side of a central axis. This is because it was dedicated to two gods: Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world along with Hathor and Khonsu, and also Horus, and each needed their own set of rooms. Sobek was the crocodile god so, of course, crocodiles were mummified for him. Some of the hundreds that have been discovered nearby are now on display in the temple. Time, the Nile River, earthquakes and later builders taking the stone for other buildings, have all taken a toll on this building …

» Tombs of the Nobles

Tombs of the Nobles, Aswan

The high cliffs opposite Aswan, just north of Kitchener's Island, are honeycombed with the Tombs of the Nobles, tombs of the governors, the keepers of the Gate of the South, and other dignitaries of ancient Elephantine. Six are open to the public. The tombs date from the Old and Middle Kingdoms and most follow a simple plan, with an entrance hall, a pillared room and a corridor leading to the burial chamber …

» Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

The Unfinished Obelisk is a huge discarded granite obelisk. Three sides of the shaft, which is nearly 138 feet (42m) long, were completed except for the inscriptions. At 1,168 tonnes, the completed obelisk would have been the single heaviest piece of stone the Egyptians ever fashioned. However, a crack appeared in the rock at a late stage in the process. So it lies where the disappointed stonemasons abandoned it, still partly attached to the parent rock, with no indication of what it was intended for …


Aswan Tours, Travel & Activities
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Aswan Tours, Travel & Activities

Aswan is the ancient city of Swan, which was in antiquity the frontier town of Egypt to the south. It stood upon a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, immediately below the first cataract, which extend to it from Philae. It is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddess with the same name. …

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Aswan Hotels

Laid-back and pleasant, Aswan is the perfect place for a break from Egyptian travel. The Nile is magically beautiful here as it flows around palm-studded islands dotting its waters, ideal for languid sailing trips. Associated with the Nubian people, a distinct ethnic group with their own language and customs, Aswan is more African in character than the cities of the north …

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