Should you’ve simply arrived from busy Luxor or Cairo, Aswan is a laid-back and welcoming city that gives a peaceable break. Aswan is unfold out alongside the banks of the Nile and is the best start line for seeing the temples, monuments, and different vacationer sights within the southern areas of Higher Egypt, in addition to the utterly completely different Nubian tradition of the area.
Ramses II’s monumental temples at Abu Simbel, the temple on the island of Philae, and the Temple of Kom Ombo are all inside simple day journeys of Aswan, which can be the closest city to all of them.
The best method to see Aswan’s charms is to board a felucca, a conventional sailboat, and discover the town from the water, the place Aswan was as soon as a big commerce hub. The river right here is full of islands which might be residence to charming mud-brick Nubian settlements and is surrounded by monumental sand dunes from the West Financial institution.
Every thing is basically photogenic, particularly round twilight when the river shimmers with the setting solar and tons of of lateen-sailed feluccas take to the water. Aswan is without doubt one of the high locations in Egypt for critical photographers trying to seize iconic Nile vistas.
1. Elephantine Island
There are quite a few previous ruins on Elephantine Island which might be value exploring. The temple of Khnum is totally destroyed, and all that’s left of it’s a few scattered stones and damaged columns. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to nonetheless see the temple’s sq. granite gateway, which was discovered by the German Swiss excavation crew whereas they had been searching for the stays of the brand new kingdom on the island. A restored temple known as Satis temple may be seen within the island’s north. On high of the ruins of the center kingdom, the temple was erected throughout the reign of Queen Hatshepsut and King Tuthmose III.
A extremely fascinating spotlight is the island-based Aswan Museum. Mummies and statues, in addition to relics courting from the predynastic by way of the Roman and Byzantine intervals, had been found on the island when it was first established in 1912. The Nilometer, which is claimed to be among the many earliest Nilometers, is positioned in entrance of the museum and was utilized by the traditional Egyptians to gauge Nile floods. The huge rocks on the shores of the island, bearing the inscriptions of the kings and governors who dominated the island all through historical past, are one other excellent attribute that units the island aside.
2. Felucca journey
Taking a felucca out on the river to discover Aswan’s websites is the traditional means to take action (conventional lateen-sail boat). Discovering a skipper desperate to take you on a river tour received’t be troublesome. All day, Felucca captains stand round Aswan’s Nile-side corniche and solicit passengers.
A typical two-hour quick cruise sails in a loop across the islands within the central Aswan area, providing spectacular views of the town on the east financial institution, the luxurious palm-tree-dotted islands, and the rippling desert sands of the west river financial institution.
Make a half-day or full-day felucca itinerary for longer excursions, add a swimming cease alongside the way in which, and schedule stops at among the main Aswan vacationer websites, just like the Elephantine Island archaeological web site, Kitchener’s Island, the Monastery of St. Simeon, and the Tombs of the Nobles on the west financial institution.
3. Nubian Museum
Anybody within the historical past and tradition of each historic and up to date Nubia ought to go to the fairly exceptional Nubian Museum in Aswan, considered one of Egypt’s biggest. With the development of the Aswan Dam and the emergence of Lake Nasser, the treasures of a civilization that was all however worn out are documented.
There are various great black-and-white pictures of UNESCO’s superb undertaking to save lots of Philae Temple and Abu Simbel from the rising waters of the dam, in addition to a large assortment of artifacts from the Kingdom of Kush (historic Nubia), in addition to intensive pictures of the huge array of different monuments that at the moment are misplaced eternally beneath the lake’s waters.
4. Abu Simbel
Select a visit to Abu Simbel from Aswan when you can solely take at some point journey there. Constructed by Ramses II and miraculously preserved from destruction by a UNESCO rescue mission within the Nineteen Seventies, Abu Simbel is a marvel of each historic and up to date engineering.
Every thing else in Egypt pales compared to the big scale of the Nice Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor, that are positioned on the shores of Lake Nasser. Most guests arrive at Abu Simbel by tour. Since Abu Simbel lies 280 kilometers south of Aswan, enable three hours for a minibus or non-public car to hold you there.
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5. Philae Temple
One among Higher Egypt’s most alluring constructions is the sacred Temple of Isis (also called Philae Temple), which was a favourite topic of Victorian painters because of the fantastic workmanship of its reliefs and the magnificent symmetry of its structure.
Like Abu Simbel, the temple was relocated lock, inventory, and barrel from its unique location on Philae Island to close by (greater) Agilika Island, the place it’s now, due to UNESCO’s rescue mission. The island can be residence to the Temple of Hathor, the Kiosk of Trajan, and several other different constructions from the Roman and Byzantine intervals. The Temple of Isis, a hub for the traditional cult of Isis, is the principal element of the Philae advanced.
6. Monastery of St. Simeon
On the West Financial institution of the Nile, the stunningly picturesque Monastery of St. Simeon is located between sand dunes. One of many largest and best-preserved Coptic monasteries in Egypt, it was first established within the seventh century and finally deserted within the thirteenth because of water difficulties.
An aisled basilica occupies many of the monastery’s southern facet contained in the courtyard. The large apse, which options three rectangular niches beneath semi-domes, is positioned on the east finish of the large nave, which was beforehand coated by two domes. The remnants of a fresco that confirmed Christ seated between angels may be seen within the center area of interest.
Quite a few auxiliary constructions and little grottoes could also be seen to the north and west of the church, whereas residential areas make up its jap facet.
Aswan is known for its peaceable setting, wealthy archaeological monuments, and gorgeous views of the Nile Valley. It’s the preferrred winter getaway due to its gentle, year-round climate. The town affords lovely vistas and sights for many who need to take a felucca journey throughout the Nile. In case you are planning a visit to Aswan, these talked about sights are must-see.
Sherif Khalil is Proprietor of Dunes & Past. Dunes & Past affords luxurious excursions, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.
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