Aswan is one of the important tourist destinations in Egypt, and it has its magic and style and is known as the city of Nubia. It is noted for its Nubian atmosphere, beautiful views of the pure Nile, and historical sites.
It is located in southern Egypt, in Upper Egypt, at the end of the Nile Valley on the eastern bank. It has more than 300,000 inhabitants, one thousand km from Cairo and 230 km from Luxor.
It is the best destination in the winter.
Where is Aswan Located?
It is situated in Upper Egypt, on the Eastern Bank of the Nile, in the south of Egypt, more or less 926 KM far from Cairo.
It is considered the southernmost city of Egypt, almost a thousand kilometers from Cairo.
The Origin of the Name Aswan
The city received many names throughout its history. In Ancient Egypt, it was called “Swenet,” from the name of a goddess, or “Sono,” which means the great market,
because it was the commercial center of the caravans that came to and from Nubia. It was also known as the land of gold because it was a treasury or graveyard for the kings of Nubia who lived in it for thousands of years.
In the Ptolemaic dynasty, it became “Sein,” and the Nubians called it “Yiba Suan.” In the Coptic period, it was called “Suan,” Due to the arrival of the Arabs in Egypt, it was called “Aswan.”
The History of Aswan Egypt
The aswan city was mentioned in many monuments, including the Book of Death,s and the Royal Papyrus of Turin. In the center of the Nile, facing modern Aswan, Elephantine Island has been inhabited since ancient times.
The local deity was Hapi (god of the Nile and the flood) and Satet (goddess of war, associated with the flood. In the ancient empire, the city represented the southern border of Egypt.
Its red granite quarries were also crucial in constructing pyramids.’
Funerary temples. In the Middle Kingdom, it became a stronghold of the Egyptian army because the kings wanted to extend their domains to the south.
During the new empire, many temples were built on Elephantine Island, in addition to its importance in the construction since the granite from its quarries was used to construct the obelisks of the temples, statues of kings, sarcophagi, and many monuments.
It was also essential during the battles between the Egyptians and Hyksos. During the Ptolemaic era, the Island of Philae was the cult center of the goddess Isis.
In Christianity, in the 5th century A, D, the pharaonic temples were converted into churches. When the Arabs came to Egypt, Aswan flourished in the 7th century AD because it was a caravan passage.
In 1837 AD Muhammad Ali founded the first military academy in the city. because it was a passage for caravans. In 1837 AD Muhammad Ali founded the first military academy in the town.
Facts About Aswan City Egypt
- Did you know the Temple of Debod, now in Madrid, was previously in Aswan? Then the Egyptian government gave it to Spain after it helped save the temples of Nubia, in danger of being in danger due to the construction of the Aswan Dam.
- The construction of the High Dam in 1964 displaced nearly 100,000 Nubians who lived along the banks of the river.
- Many of these people now live in or around Aswan and earn a living from tourism by making and selling traditional Nubian products or in other cultural displays.
- It is one of the world’s aridest cities, famous as a winter resort and commercial center.
- The city became an important industrial center since the start of hydroelectric production in 1960, and fertilizer chemistry is the largest of the new industries.
Also, Lake Nasser is considered one of the consequences of building the Dam.
- The people of Aswan are amicable, especially those who live in the Nubian Village, which is well worth visiting.
- Among the most famous temples and attractions is the Temple of Abu Simbel, made in the reign of Ramses II and constituted of 2 temples excavated directly into the rock. It is located in the extreme south of Egypt, on the western shore of Lake Nasser.
Activities in Aswan
Aswan is full of activities that can be done during the day or at night. This city has its character and stands out for its tranquility, unlike the historical towns of Egypt. Some of his activities;
The Nile Cruise from Aswan:
The 3-night Nile cruise is the most exciting activity in the whole country. The cruise trip allows you to explore the attractions on the shores of Aswan and Luxor and those between them, such as the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Temple of Edfu.
Felucca in Aswan: Ride along the Nile on a felucca to one of the Aswan islands, enjoying the view of the Nile sunset or store.
Walk through the Aswan Bazaar: it is one of the tourist places in the city. In addition to Nubian products, there are other traditional Egyptian products such as spices, clothes, and souvenirs.
Sound and Light Show in Philae: It is a beautiful show in Egypt since the gods and goddesses narrate their stories and myths, in addition to the famous legend of Isis and Osiris that occurred in Philae.
Sound and Light Show at Abu Simbel: One of Aswan’s most famous night activities. The great colossi of Ramses II narrate the story of the construction of the Temple and the level of its transfer from its original place to its present location.
What is aswan famous for?
Aswan is one of the best tourist places that attract many tourists. It contains historical attractions, and you can enjoy the pure Nile and magical landscapes. It also includes bazaars to buy Pharaonic and Nubia gifts.
There are many things to do in Aswan and many places to visit during your trip.
Eight km south of Aswan is a temple complex on Agilkia Island, initially on Philae Island. The main building in the complex is a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, which is in the middle of the island.
Around it are other small buildings built by different pharaohs at different times, so it is difficult to determine the exact date of the Philae Complex.
The Abu Simbel Temple
It is a complex of two ancient Egyptian temples carved out of the rock on the western bank of the Nile during the reign of Ramses II (1279-1213 BC). It is located in Nubia, 285 km south of Aswan, near the modern border between Egypt and Sudan.
The Temple was moved from its original location so as not to disappear underwater due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. Abu Simbel is famous for its colossal Ramesses II and Nefertari statues and sun festivals on October 22 and February 22.
The Aswan Museum
It is about 600 meters southeast of the Nubia Museum, in the middle of an old quarry. In the XVIII dynasty, this obelisk was built during the reign of Hatshepsut and was later abandoned without finishing it.
It is considered the longest obelisk in Ancient Egypt. It is 40 meters long, has 1200 tons, and is made of red granite that highlights Aswan. Because of the obelisk, this quarry is currently considered an open-air museum.
The Aga Khan Aswan Mausoleum
The Aga Khan chose the site to be his final resting place on the west bank of the Nile before his death. The construction of the Mausoleum started in 1956 and finished in 1960.
It is built of red granite and resembles the other Fatimid tombs in Cairo. His wife is also buried in the Mausoleum.
The Monastery of San Simeon
The monastery, built at the end of the 6th or 7th century, was initially made of cave painting, and it became important in the 9th century, and some construction was done.
In the 10th century, it had 1,000 monks. It was enlarged in the 11th century, but in the following century, Saladin was damaged, losing importance.
Its main buildings are well preserved, but the rest of the monastery is in ruins today.
The Aswan Necropolis of Qubbet Al Hawa
Qubbet Al Hawa is a 130-meter-high rock mountain in front of the modern city. This mountain houses three rows of 80 tombs of nobles dating back to the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, and Greco-Roman periods. Most tombs date back to the 6th, 20th, and 22nd dynasties.
The Nubian Museum
The museum opened in 1998 and was designed by the architect Muhammad Al-Hakim. It is a building of a collection of 5000 pieces that show the history and culture of Nubia, as well as some monuments that were saved from the Nile flood after the construction of the High Dam.
Aswan Fatimid Cemetery
It stretches between the Nubia Museum and the Unfinished Obelisk quarries. The oldest tomb dates back to the 9th century. Some well-preserved small buildings have vaulted ceilings, but most graves are in poor condition.
What Is The Best Time to Visit Aswan?
The best time to visit Aswan is during the winter months, from December to February when the temperatures are milder and more comfortable for outdoor activities.
During this time, the temperatures typically range between 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F) during the day and can drop to 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F) at night.
In the summer months, from June to August, the temperatures can be scorching, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 40°C to 50°C (104°F to 122°F) or more.
This can make it challenging to explore the city and its attractions during the day, so it is best to plan indoor activities or visit during the early morning or late afternoon.
It is important to note that Aswan is a popular tourist destination, and the peak season is from November to February. During this time, the city can be crowded, and prices for accommodations and activities may be higher.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds and save money, you may want to consider visiting during the shoulder season, from September to November or March to May.