Aswan…the magical city that lay by the River Nile, at old times they believed that it was the source of the Nile. In ancient times it was called ”Swenett” after the ancient goddess, who was later identified by the Greeks as Eileithyia. Sewenett’s location was a high point of interest in the ancient times as it is in the southernmost town in Egypt, and was an important military station.
It was named later “Swan,” which means market, due you its location that acted as a gate to Africa, and it was also a religious connection. Aswan’s population is 275,000 from Nubian people, so it is considered to be the home of the Nubian culture, a very unique one, and the kindest people in Egypt. It was also the primary provider for limestone, quartzite, and granite that were precious building materials.
Aswan lays in South Egypt, 680 Km south Cairo, below Lake Nasser and Aswan High Dam that are of great importance to Egypt. The Nile is 650 meters above Aswan and 220 Km south Luxor, and as mentioned before, it is the southern gate to Africa. Aswan has more than One Island like Elephantine and Kitchiner; it also has palm trees that give a magnificent view by the Nile.
Due to its location, its weather is African; it has a hot desert climate as it is considered to be the warmest in Egypt. In summer it has average weather of 40c, and it is sunny most of the year, that’s why it is the perfect destination in winter.
One of the most important sites in Aswan and must-see, when you go there, is the Aswan High Dam. At first, a Dam was completed under the British in 1902; to irrigate the farmland and prevent the flooding of the Nile. Then it was topped due to the rising of water. Later on, the High Dam was built in the 1960s under the ruling of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, it aided Aswan historically and Egypt Economically. The High Dam is essential in irrigation and also prevented the flooding of the Nile, but most importantly, it generates Electricity. The side effects of building the Dam was that it submerged several important historical sites, but some were saved like Abu Simbel and Philae Temple.
Aswan is from the historical cities in Egypt; it has lots of ancient sites that are worth seeing. Philae Temple is one of those sites that were rescued from being submerged after building the High Dam; it was moved to Agilkya Island by UNESCO. The unfinished obelisk, which was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut, and would be the largest ancient obelisk ever, but workers found big scratches in the stone, so they left it in the quarries and went to find another place. The famous Abu Simbel temple is from the top attractions; of course, it was built by Ramses II, where the unusual phenomenon takes place twice a year, the first sun rays hit his face commemorating his Birth and his Coronation.
One of the best attractions is the Nubian Village, where you can experience the daily life of Nubians. You can see crocodiles as they are like pets there, you will see amazing colorful houses, you will take a tour in the market there, the place is just a whole different experience. There is also the Nubian Museum, where you can know more about the Nubian culture, and it acts as a reminder of the monuments that were lost after building the High Dam. And Aswan Museum that was opened in the house of Sir William Willcocks, the architect of the old Dam. There are also Edfu temple and Kom Ombo temple that is dedicated to gods and lays between Aswan and Luxor.
Besides the historical monuments and temples that you will see in Aswan, you will also get to enjoy magnificent boat rides between the Islands with breathtaking views. Even the hotels in Aswan are different for its unique relaxing views overlooking the peaceful Nile. You can visit the museums there to learn more about the submerged history resulting from building the High Dam. You can go to have a Nubian experience in the Nubian Village, and when you take the boat there, you will find a Nubian band to entertain you on the way. You won’t run out of things to do in this spectacular city.
If you look at Egypt’s map, you will see that Aswan is not too far from Luxor, that’s why the two cities are most of the time included in the same trip, they are a package together. You can take a Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor, after taking the train from Cairo to Aswan or fly there. Luxor is full of historical attractions as well, it was the ancient city of Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt, and so together they make a complete trip. Both are must-visit cities in Egypt and top touristic places.