Aswan is the southern-most city in Egypt. It
has a scenic location on the eastern banks of the Nile. Looking
across the Nile to the west bank, one can see the desert descend
the hillsides to the greenery that hugs the banks of the river.
Several islands are sprinkled along the Nile here and rock
outcroppings add to the beauty of the surrounding scenery. The
fall and winter climate is ideal when near the river - warm,
with slight breezes that propel feluccas up and down and across
the Nile. The population here is largely Nubian, a distinctly
different flavor from Egyptian, more African seemingly.
Since the period of the Old Kingdom, Sian was the door of Africa
controlling the trade routes from the south to the north. It was
the harbor and the market, its name is derived from Sianite or
the red granite extracted from its quarries around. Opposite to
Sian or Aswan, is Abou or the island of elephants, the capital
of the first district in Egypt, housing the palace of its
governor. Because of its geographical position, it had been
chosen by Erathostenes to calculate the radius of the earth in
230 BC. Aswan gained more of its importance, after the high dam
construction in 1972, it became a source of electrical energy
and a water reservoir.
Salvage of the Nubian temples:
The lower Nubian is that part of the Nile valley lying in
between the first and second cataract, its ancient name was
Kush. Since the period of the Middle Kingdom, Kush was dominated
by Egypt and assimilated gradually the Egyptian influence, the
pharaohs of successive dynasties extended the building of their
temples to Kush, which is completely submerged under the waters
of the High Dam lake. In 1960, the UNESCO started a great world
campaign to save the so-called Nubian temples, this successful
campaign ended in 1972. Abu Simble temples (280 km to the south
of Aswan) Built more than 3250 years ago by the great builder
Pharaoh Ramses II, the temples entrances are guarded by the
Pharaoh colossal statues. The two temples are completely dug
inside the rocky mountain, these salvage took place in 6 phases:
Removing 300000 tons of rocks surrounding the temples, cutting
the temple into 1036 blocks, and enumerating each one of them,
transferring the 15000 tons of enumerated blocks to a higher
ground level, reconstruction of the temples, reconstruction of
the mountain surrounding the temples (the same phases were
applied for the salvage of Philae temple lying between the High
Dam and Aswan Dam).
The Monuments of Nubia:
Ancient Nubia is one of the richest areas of Egypt in terms of
ancient monuments. Nubia contains 16 temples, amongst the most
important of which is the Great Temple of Abu Simbel, 280
kilometres south of Aswan. This temple was carved from the rock
in the reign of Rameses II on a rocky hill overlooking the Nile.
Four statues of the Pharoah carved from the living rock guard
the temple. Nearby is the Lesser Temple of Abu Simbel, dedicated
by Rameses II to the goddess Hathor, and also carved from the
rock in honor of his wife Nefertari.
Explore the historic of Aswan:
Born more than 5000 years ago, Aswan has been the main market
of the African products; (spices, leathers, ivory, fruits,
grains, baskets, mummified and living crocodiles). It is the
sunniest winter resort in Egypt, the Nile flowing through amber
desert and granite islands covered with palm trees and tropical
plants. Elephantine island, and also the ancient Nilometer
measuring the floods. Botanical island, a small forest of
tropical plants and birds.
Important Archaeological Sites
Abu Simbel Temple:
280km to the south of Aswan) Lake cruise, it goes up to
allowing the passengers to visit a series of temples built by
the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom (Kalabsha, Wadel Seboua, Amada,
Situated at Abu Simbel are two remarkably beautiful temples
constructed by the famous pharaoh, Ramesses II. The first and
largest was dedicated to the Sun God, Ra Harakhte, while the
King in honor of his favorite wife, Nefertari, built the smaller
one. These temples are the largest and most spectacular of the
many monuments erected by Ramesses II in Nubia. Carved from the
living rock, the facade of the main temple is 33 meters high and
35 meters wide and is guarded by frieze of baboons expressing
their joy at the rising of the sun, whilst over the main gate is
carved the King’s coronation name, Usermara. Between the legs of
the four statues are representations of the King’s family, his
mother, Muttuy, his wife, and some of his sons and daughters. In
front of the temple there are several memorial stelae, including
one commemorating the marriage of one of Ramesses, daughters to
the Hittite King, Hattusilus II.
Built at 2378 years ago, was transferred in 1972 to Aegilika
Island which level is higher than that of the artificial lake.
This temple was just dedicated to be the goddess Isis.
This site contains several temples dating from the Ptolemaic and
the Roman period. The original island is situated to the south
of the Aswan Dam. The temple of Philae was rescued by UNESCO
from flooding caused by the building of the High Dam, and moved
north to the island of Agilka. The Portico of Nectanebo and is
dedicated to Isis. The western colonnades follow the shore of
the island and consist of 31 coloums. The eastern colonnade
joins the temple of Isis constructed by Ptolmey IV. Amond the
remains on the island of Philae is the Gateway of Hadrian and a
The Rock Temple of Beit al Wali:
This is located near the High Dam and is a rock cut temple
decorated with reliefs dating from the reigns of
The Kalabsha Temple:
10km to the south of Aswan): Built by the Pharaohs of the New
Kingdom and restored by the Romans, dedicated for Egyptian and
Nubian gods. Its original location was 40 km to the south of the
actual one, and was transferred in the same way as Abu Simble.
Dates to the reign of the Emperor Augustus and is one of the
biggest sandstone temples in Nubis, originally dedicated to the
god Mandaulis. This temple was mobbed from its original location
on the banks of the Nile to its current situation near the High
Wadel Seboua temples:
150km. To the south of Aswan, 2 km north the original
location) Built by Ramses II for Egyptian and Nubian gods.
180km to the south of Aswan, 3 km north the original location)
Built by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom for Egyptian and Nubian
gods. The best well preserved of Nubian temples, it was
transferred in one block package on triple railways.
The Temple of Edfu
The best well preserved of all Egypt's temples, built 2325 years
ago for the worship of the god Horus.
This dates to the Ptolemaic period and is the largest and most
complete of the different temples situated along the banks of
the Nile. It is located in the city of Edfu. It was a center of
the cult of Horus.
The Temple of Kom Ombo:
The only double temple in Egypt, all the elements of the
structure are doubled since it was built for the worship of two
gods: Haraeoris and Sobek
The double temple dates to the Prolemaic period and its
inscriptions contain references to the Ptolemies and to the
Roman Emperors, Domitian, Trajan, and Caracalla.
The Monastery of St. Simeon:
Situated on a hill, this well preserved, ancient mudbrick
structure overlooks the desert on all sides
The High dam:
One of the world's largest dams (2100000 kw) and its lake, the
second in the world, spreads to Sudan (500 km. Long)
This is situated in the middle of the Nile and contains more
than eight hundred specimen palms, tamarisk and other rare
botanical specimens. It covers an area of about 18 acres.
The Mausoleum of the Aga Khan:
This is situated on an eminence over looking the western bank of
Nile. It is a sumptuous tombbuilt in the Fatimid style as the
burial place of the third Aga Khan, leader of the Ismaili sect