"One of the Most Attractive Cities in Egypt" Top 5 Page for this destination Aswan by atufft
Aswan Travel Guide: 638 reviews and 2,143 photos
A Coptic word meaning "trade", Aswan is the city furthest south, a garrison for the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Turks, and British, and today remains the capital of Nubia, . The original town was on the Elephantine Island, which Belzoni found as a lovely garden reminiscent of the gardens of English nobility, only that the decorative fragmented ruins were real. Later, the city expanded to the east bank of Nile, which today has a well established corniche with restaurants, and a beautiful view of the starkly blue Nile. More recently, neighborhoods have grown on the west bank, to the north of the temples of the nobles, a poorer section of town largely serviced by a ferryboat system today. Aswan continues to early it's livelyhood day as the downstream administrative center for the Russain engineered High Day of Lake Nasser. The contrast between the barren sand dunes and the Nile River along the shores opposite the town of Aswan makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Egypt.
Unlike the Arabs of northern Egypt, the Nubians of Aswan are black and clearly African in both appearance and culture. For most tourists, this will be as close to the heart of Africa that they will ever get, providing an opportunity for many to try spendid food and shop for handicrafts more reminiscent of nations to the south than to the Egyptian north. The Nubian atmosphere at Aswan is very relaxed, the service patient, and local attitudes carefree and festive, all features typical to the African lifestyle found further south.
Although not so loaded with antiquities as Luxor, Aswan has some unique gems. Rock cut monument Abu Simbel, to the south is one of Egypt's most daring symbols of Egyptian power, for example, and today in lake Nasser, the island bound santuary temples of Philae and Kalabsha present excursions reminiscent of Greece. Aswan was the source for the granite for obelisks and other monumental features at Luxor, and the granite mined by workers was loaded on Nile barges and exported downriver ancient times to places as far away as Palmyra in Syria. So don't miss the granite quarry and unfinished obelisk.
Other places worth visiting with range of Aswan include: The dual temples of sobek and horus at Kwam Umbu, and the well preserved temple of horus at Idfu. All of these can be seen within 3 or 4 full days before returning to the great center of ancient Egyptian civilization at Luxor. While many take tour packages that include a Nile River Cruise to these places, those independent travelers on a budget and those more interested in browsing the ruins than in sipping drinks aboard ship will find the adventure of land travel via camel, felucca, ferry, local van and train quite exciting and cheap.
Note on the photography in these pages: These are slide positives properly scanned and uploaded to VT, which for some reason can't render the colors properly. Sorry about this, so try to enjoy them anyway. They still look great projected with my old Kodak carousel projector.
- Pros:Sunny southern town remote from the chaos of the cairo metropolis
- Cons:Aswan desert can be surprisingly cool at night in winter
- In a nutshell:Aswan is a major destination within a complete tour of Egypt
Aswan has a large lower class residential section slightly downstream and across the river from the main city... more travel advice
Many of the great temples normally considered part of the visit to Aswan are rather distant, and so some advance... more travel advice
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