Aswan Tourism and Tourist Information

ElephantineIsland along nile, Aswan

Aswan is beauty, simplicity and nature. The wonders of this stunning city; manmade and natural, will dazzle you. 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.

ASWAN IS an excellent place to recuperate after the historical excesses of Cairo and Luxor. It's in the ancient area of Nubia, whose badly armed and disorganized tribes were crushed by the mighty Egyptian army in Clintonesque campaigns. Aswan has the prettiest setting of any in Egypt, poised where the river narrows between golden sand dunes and rugged granite boulders. Aswan is the base for excursions to temples of Philae and Kalabsha, the high dam, the unfinished obelisk and the Nubian Museum as well as the Elephantine, Kitchener islands. The main attractions on the west bank of the river are the Mausoleum of Akha Khan and the desert monastery of St.Simon. It can also serve for day-trips to Darow Camel Market, Komombo, Edfu and Esna and above them all the excursion to Abu Simbel either by road or by flight or even with Nile Cruise which sail in Lake Nasser until Abu Simbel.
aswan dam along nile
For the full Nubian story, head to the acclaimed new museum at Aswan, which has displays on just about everything from prehistoric rock art to the recovery of Nubian sites. The most famous of these sites is Ramesses II's temple at Abu Simbel, which can be visited on a day trip from Aswan. It sits embedded in a man-made mountain above the shores of the new lake, a few hundred feet above its original site. Another rescued site is the temple of Philae, now resting on an island a few minutes from Aswan. The nightly sound and light show here is the best in Egypt.

A camel ride or a short walk leads you to the base of the mountain. 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 the solitary traveler, Egypt holds as many aggravations as wonders. But there is solace-and more-in the southernmost end of the country. Here in Aswan, 534 miles up the Nile from the chaos of Cairo, there remains time and space for quiet contemplation. Never completely assimilated by the ancient Egyptians or their successors, Aswan retains much of its original African character. ASWAN city has kept much of its original African character and long has been a winter watering hole for Egypt's wealthy. Best experienced in quiet contemplation, it remains one of the country's last unspoiled discoveries.
Feluccas at Aswan along nile river
Aswan is the major travel hub of the south of Egypt. The area has many things worth exploring - Elephant island, the Philae Temple, the Aswan dam and further afield Abu Simbel, which can be see as a day trip from here. Abu Simbel, the great rock temples that were dismantled and relocated to allow the building of the Aswan Dam, is a short plane ride away. The High Dam itself and the Philae Temple, also rescued from drowning and moved to the island of Agilkia, are closer; still nearer is Elephantine Island, so named because it was a center for ivory trading in antiquity.

Aswan Tourist Attractions

Aswan and its surroundings were known as Nubia in ancient times. You will find that event today, Aswan had more of an 'African feel' to it than any other city in Egypt. Although you might want to give the 'Nubian dancers' performing in the expensive hotels a miss, getting a real taste of this ancient culture would be an excellent opportunity and an experience you will not forget - the Nubian Cultural center is a good option here. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center, just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.

Last Updated on Monday 17th January 2011