Situated on the Eastern bank of the River Nile, Aswan is the furthest southern
city in Egypt, around 80 miles south of Luxor. It is located in the ancient
Nubian lands, and has been a winter tourist destination since the 19th century.
Besides relaxation, Aswan offers a number of attractions to the visitor such as
ancient temples, mosques, islands, attractive surroundings, bazaars abounding
in handicrafts, Nile cruises with sail-boats at sunset, and much more. Renowned
for its many islands (Elephantine, Kitchener's), its various Pharaonic sites
(Philae temple), Aswan is also home to Egypt's High Dam. Tourists usually
combine to their visit to Aswan the exploration of nearby sites such as Esna,
Edfu, Kom Ombo, and a most recommended day trip to Abu Simbel to visit the
great and exotic temple of Ramses II.
||Aswan East Bank and
You can spend a pleasant time wandering along the Nile Corniche, take a Nile
cruise with sail-boats at sunset, feluccas to nearby islands, or a tour in the
bazaar. Further away, along the Corniche, you can visit the Ferial Gardens and
the Nubian Museum, and continue on to the Fatimid Cemetery, with its hundreds
of tombs built of mud brick dating back to the 9th century. Just east of the
cemetery, you can admire the gigantic Unfinished Obelisk incompletely carved.
Just to the south of this, two Graeco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished
colossus remain half buried in the sand. At night, you can experience a magical
Sound and Light Show on the site of the Philae Temple. The High Dam is one of
the outstanding architectural achievements of the twentieth century. The Philae
Temple, dedicated to goddess Isis, was dismantled and reassembled by UNESCO.
Kalabsha Temple and its surrounding ruins were also moved by UNESCO.
|| Aswan West Bank
The West Bank is really worth a visit. You can take a walk (or a cycling trip)
in the Nubian villages or visit the many sites on the West bank: Tombs of the
Nobles & Kubbet al Hawa (windy dome), tombs of princes from the Old Kingdom
to the Roman period. Monastery of St. Simeon dating back to the 7th century.
Elephantine Island, the largest of the Aswan area islands. Aswan botanical
gardens on Kitchener Island to be reached by boat. The Mausoleum of Mohammed
Shah Agha Khan who died in 1957, a typically beautiful architecture of the
Fatimid style. Kom Ombo Temple, 45 km north of Aswan, and built on a hillside
overlooking the Nile. Edfu Temple, 123 km north of Aswan on the west bank of
the Nile. Dating back to the Ptolemaic period and dedicated to the worship of
god Horus represented as a falcon, It is the second largest temple after
Visitors can make tours to Kom Ombo and Edfu by feluccas, coach or taxi.
|| Abu Simbel
Most people use Aswan as a base to see these fantastic temples. Situated 280km
south of Aswan, the two temples of Abu Simbel are the most magnificent temples
in the world. The first temple was built by the mighty Pharaoh Ramses II, the
other for his wife Queen Nefertari. These two temples would have disappeared
for ever under the waters of the Nasser Lake if the UNESCO had not supported
and managed their relocation.
The Great Temple of Abu Simbel was built by Ramses II and dedicated to the
triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte. It is distinguished by its main
façade with four colossal statues of Ramses II sit enthroned wearing the
double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The most interesting relic is the Qadesh
battle scene recording his victories over the Hittites. It was built on a
strict east -west axis so that the morning sun actually reached the innermost
sanctuary at dawn, illuminating the statues of Ptah, Amon, Ramses II, and
Ra-Harakhte twice a year.
The Small Temple of Abu Simbel ( Nefertari ), located 50 meters from the great
temple, it was built by Ramses II for his beautiful wife Nefertari to be
worshipped with other gods. It is also called the temple of Hathor, the goddess
of love and beauty. Its facade is adorned by six statues, four for Ramses II
and two for his wife Nefertari. The walls of the temple are decorated with
scenes depicting Ramses and Nefertari offering sacrifices to the gods.
Sound and Light show of Abu Simbel Temples are held three times a day in