Situated on the northern border of Nubia, Aswan has the loveliest setting on the Nile, with a delightfully dry sunny climate. It was once one of the most important cities in Egypt as it lays on the trade route between Egypt and the southern Territories. Certain sites cannot be missed:
High Dam, the unfinished Obelisk:
Visit the High Dam, crossing the original barrage over the First Cataract, and stop to look at the magnificent and impressive unfinished obelisk.
Temple of Philae:
Is dedicated to the gods Isis and Osiris, and it is considered one of the most romantic places in Upper Egypt! You can visit it by motorboat and wonder at this most delightful of temples.
Islands by Felucca:
Taken to the water again when you board a felucca to explore the beauty of the islands along the Nile and let yourself get carried away by the gentle wind. The boat will take you to the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener Island where you can enjoy the exotic plants gathered from all around the world and the enchanting singing of birds.
Aswan is also gateway to the astonishing temples of Abu Simbel, built by the great pharaoh Ramses II for himself and his wife Nefertari. Moved to high ground when the Aswan High Dam was built, these awe inspiring ancient monuments are perched on the shores of Lake Nasser, which waters are supplied from the mighty Nile’s source in Africa.
The Nubian Museum is one of the most attractive buildings in Aswan and is a celebration of Nubian history and culture from its earliest beginnings until the building of the modern High Dam. Opened in November 1997, the museum houses a spectacular collection of ancient artifacts including a magnificent statue of King Taharqa, the first Nubian to rule Egypt.
Tombs of the Nobles:
The high cliffs opposite Aswan, just north of Kitchener’s Island are honeycombed with tombs of princes, governors and other dignitaries of ancient Yebu. Dating from the old and middle kingdoms, several are worth a visit. You can either take a ferry or a felucca to the site followed by steep walk up the sandy path to the line of tombs cut into the rock face.
Nubian Village and St. Simeon’s Monastery:
Sail by boat to the Nubian village to experience the life of the local people. Climb the mountain of St. Simeon, where the Kingdom of the Nobatae was converted to Christianity and where enough survives within the Monastery’s 10-ft high walls to create an evocative impression of the community, which once flourished there.
Sound and Light at Philae Temple:
Motoring by boat over the waters of the Nile to the Temple of Philae is a most enchanting way to begin the experience of a dramatic sound and light performance. The legend of Isis and Osiris and the history of Hapi, the God of the Nile, are narrated under the stars in this most romantic of settings.
The treasure chest of antiquities should not be missed. It is three towns in one; the modern town on the East Bank of the Nile, the immense temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the intriguing Theban Necropolis on the opposite West Bank, including the spectacular Hatshepsut’s Temple, the impressive Valley of the Kings and the great Colossi of Memnon.
Kom Ombo and Edfu:
Drive through the beautiful countryside along the river Nile to Kom Ombo to visit the temple dedicated to the Gods Sobek and Horus, which stands overlooking the Nile, unlike any other temple in the valley. Continue to Edfu to visit the temple considered to be the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt, dedicated to the falcon headed God Horus.
No holiday to Egypt is complete without a visit to the magnificent sights of Cairo – the Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza and the Egyptian Museum housing some of the world’s most fabulous treasures from the collection of King Tutankhamun and many ancient artifacts. As an additional option, depending on time, Islamic or Coptic Cairo could also be visited.