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Tombs of The Noble, Aswan

Tombs of The Noble, Aswan

Aswan has the loveliest setting on the Nile. On one side sits the city, its shops, businesses, and the old Cataract Hotel, disguising the network of streets and alleyways which make up the souk, the second best next to Cairo's. There are major archeological sites along both banks of the upper Nile, necropoli such as the Tombs of the Nobles at Aswan and great temples on the order of those at Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo. Behind the Aswan high dam are Philae, where the cult of the female divinity Isis stubbornly survived into the fifth century; and the improbable rock temples at Abu Simbel with their enormous statues of all-conquering Ramesses the Great. But there is nothing anywhere in the ancient world to compare with the incredible remains of Thebes at Luxor. The west bank is home to the Tombs of the Nobles and the Agha Khan Mausoleum -- Elephantine Island affords the wanderer the dream prospect of two Nubian villages, Koti and Siou, Saint Simeon's Monastery, and the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, who spent every winter in Aswan to relieve his rheumatism and now will spend eternity there. Aswan is also the closest major town to the island of Philae and the temple of Isis.


The northern hills of the west bank are filled with the rock-hewn tombs of princes from the Old Kingdom to the Roman period; at night they are illuminated with hidden spotlights and can be clearly seen from Aswan. Inside, the tombs are decorated with vivid wall paintings showing scenes of everyday life, hieroglyphic biographies and inscriptions telling of the noblemen's journeys into Africa.
Tombs of the Nobles lies along Nile opposite the five-star Movenpick hotel on Elaphantine Island
The one-hour ride takes the visitor to places of interest such as the mausoleum of the Aga Khan, Tombs of the Nobles, which lie among the high cliffs opposite the five-star Movenpick hotel on Elaphantine Island, followed by the Monastery of St Simeon cut into the high cliffs, Kitchener’s island, with its exotic botanical gardens and the rocky Elephantine island. Rather than taking a bus with loads of tourists to the main attractions, the best way to start your day in Aswan is by walking along the Nile in the early morning to the northern public ferry. This will carry you across the Nile from the East bank (where the town center is) to the poorer West bank. On this ferry, custom dictates that men sit on one side and women on the other. Its always fun to dip your hand in the water as the ferry crosses to the other side.

A hill on the west side houses the tombs of the Nobles high up in its caves. A camel ride or a short walk leads you to the base of the mountain. Walk across the desert to the Tombs of the Nobles, which overlooked the river from the escarpment opposite the city. Many of the occupants led expeditions into Africa; these are the tombs, perhaps, of the world’s earliest explorers. The first half of the climb upwards is easy and quick. The tombs are midway upwards. These hidden caves housed the bodies of governors and dignitaries of ancient times. While the tombs themselves are not exceptional, the crawl into one of them on all fours through a short tunnel is always fun. The good humored guide there; once inside the tomb, never tires of telling the visitors tales of bats, scorpions and snakes that inhabit it. He also knows the travel book in your hands by heart; casually reciting the tomb numbers by heart.

For More Information Visit: Aswan Tourism and Tourist Information

Last Updated on Monday 6th December 2010