Aswan Travel Guide

General Information About Aswan

Aswan, the third largest city in Egypt is home to some of Egypt’s most historic sites, with some of the most beautiful surroundings. Come visit Aswan and please your eyes with one of the most enchanting natural sceneries in the world.

Tranquility and superb natural landscapes aren’t only what Aswan has to offer. This city invites you to trace back Egypt’s ancient mysteries through its legendary temples . Aswan is also home to plenty of attractions  that need to be seen when visiting this historic city.

 Today, Aswan is characterized by its abundance of palm trees and tropical gardens standing beside one of the wildest parts of the Nile River. As such, it has many islands dotted off its shores.

Aswan enjoys a distinctive African atmosphere. Nubian Dancers perform live in several hotels, and are surely a sight not to be missed as you will get a real taste of this ancient culture. Nubian villages must be visited, as they have an enchanting taste of Egypt in addition to the warm hospitality and fascinating culture, and The Nubian Cultural center  is also a good option.

Hugely attractive, Aswan is the busy market center of the region. In fact, its ancient name of Sewent means “trade”. Aswan is still keeping its bustling spirit, as it’s lively with its colorful shops and bazaars.

Cruising the Nile in Aswan is definitely a memorable experience as you will be enjoying an enthralling blend of nature’s exquisiteness and the grace of the Pharaohs. Being a serene destination with magnificent scenery, Aswan also makes for an ideal gateway for honeymooners.

Located roughly where the Western Desert and the Eastern Desert meet, and just north of the great expanse of water created by the Aswan High Dam  known as Lake Nasser , Aswan has a gorgeous winter climate and is a popular sun resort from November through to March with Egyptians as well as International vacationers.

Islands

Kitchener’s Island
Kitchener’s Island is a botanical garden filled with exotic plants and trees imported from all over the world. It is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the shade. The island must be reached by boat, and is located on the other side of Elephantine Island from Aswan. The Island was given to Lord Kitchener for his campaigns in Sudan, and he moved there and created his garden, importing plants and trees from all over the world.

Elephantine Island 
The island of Elephantine is the largest island in Aswan and one of the oldest sites in Egypt, dating back to the pre-dynastic period. The name Elephantine means elephant in Greek, and the island was known as Abu, or Yabu, which also means elephant, probably because it was a key trading center for ivory, among other commodities. It features lavish gardens, numerous artifacts that are mostly in ruins, a Nubian Village, and a Nilometer used to measure the level of water in the Nile.

Aswan Cultural Centre

One of Aswan's attractions is its Cultural Centre. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians give performances just off the cornice, and folklore troupes recreate from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.

The High Dam

The world-famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam, 6 km downriver; it is a wonderful view for visitors.

Lake Nasser

Cruising Lake Nasser is one of the best ways to blend splendor with beauty, and a great way to relax and discover the sights of the ancient Pharaohs. From the decks of a felucca, a traditional wooden sailing boat, or a luxury boat you can see many temples along the way. On the shores of Lake Nasser, there is the wonderful site of the Great Temples of Abu Simbel for Ramses II, and the small temple of Abu Simbel for Nefertari.

Legendary Temples

The Temples of Abu Simbel 
Situated near Egypt’s southern borders with Sudan, 280 km south of Aswan, the Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting of all Pharaonic temples. There are two temples cut into the rock dating back to king Ramses II - one is for Ramses and the other for Nefertari.

The Great Temple 
Ramses II built this for himself to be adored beside the gods Amun-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah. It is 33m high and 38m wide and 56m deep. King Ramses II built this temple for himself not only as a king but also as a god as the facade of the temple shows how king Ramses was worshiping himself as a god. It also showed him as a warrior and after that as a peace maker when he signed the first peace treaty in history and married the daughter of the Hittites.

Temple of Nefertari 
The Temple of Queen Nefertari is located 120m from the Temple of Ramses II and was also built by Ramses II, dedicated to the Goddess Hathor and to his wife Queen Nefertari. Queen Nefertari was the principal, and the most beloved, wife of King Ramses II. It is also a rock-cut Temple with a façade of about 28m long and 12m high, which contains 6 standing colossi, each one being about 11m in height. Four of them represent Ramses II and the other two represent Queen Nefertari, each accompanied by two smaller figures of their children.

The entrance leads to a square hall, which is supported by 6 Hathor-headed pillars decorated with scenes depicting the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities. At the end of the hall there is a doorway leading to a transverse vestibule decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making offerings to Re-Horakhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Khenum, Sat-tet and Anket.The Transverse Hall leads to the Sanctuary, which contains a niche in the rear wall with a statue of Goddess Hathor, as a cow, protecting Ramses II.

The view from this place is incredible. Imagine yourself in the middle of the desert, and at the shores of Lake Nasser. The temples got world fame when an international UNESCO operation was needed to save them from the rising water of Lake Nasser. The bright colors in the carvings are essentially intact.

The Temple Of Edfu 
This city played a major role in the history of Aswan, and is located 60 km south of it. Edfu was a flourishing city in ancient times and the center of the cult of triad of Gods, including the infamous Horus and Hathor. The temple of Edfu dates back to the Ptolemaic period, and the temple and its inscriptions were completed over a period of 180 years. This glorious temple includes a Nilometer and a chapel dedicated to the Goddess Nut. Various walls depict scenes of wars, the ritual foundation of the temple, and the divine marriage of Hathor and Horus of Behdet.

The Temple of Philae 
This magnificent temple is located on a small rocky island in the middle of the Nile, south of Aswan, and was built by the Ancient Egyptians for the Goddess Isis. It was submerged by Nile floods when the first dam was built in Aswan in 1906. In the 1970s, with the completion of the High Dam  of Aswan, attempts began to save the temple. A new island, Egilika, was chosen and reshaped to resemble the island on which the temple resides. Over a period of nine years, the temple was dismantled, transferred, and assembled again on Egilika.

Aswan Attractions

Edfu Temple

This is the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 B.C . Its size reflects the relative prosperity of the time however its real value is not only for its huge size but also for the inscriptions on its walls that provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period. The very ornate and extremely elegant bas-reliefs which are found on all the walls and the columns, depict the legend of Horus- who vindicates the death of his father Osiris- and other important scenes of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth, good and evil.It was the center of several festivals dedicated to Horus and his wife Hathor. Each year, Hathor travelled south from her temple at Denderah to visit Horus at Edfu, and this event marking their marriage was the occasion of a great festival and pilgrimage. Today the Temple of Edfu's archaeological significance and high state of Today the Temple of Edfu's archaeological significance and high state of preservation has made it a center for tourism in Egypt and a frequent stop for the many riverboats that cruise the Nile.

Kom Ombo Temple

The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo Some additions to it were later made during the Roman period. The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris,

also known as Horus the Elder, along "with Tasenetnofret (the Good Sister, a special form of Hathor) and Panebtawy (Lord of the Two Lands)." The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.
A few of the three-hundred crocodile mummies discovered in the vicinity are displayed inside the temple.

Philae Temple

The island of Philae, beginning with very ancient times, was  where the cult of Isis had its roots. Also being accounted one of the burying-places of Osiris, it was held in high reverence by the Egyptians and it was deemed profane for any but priests to dwell therein. Thus the Temple was constructed there and the story of Osiris and his loving wife Isis were represented on its walls.
Though the principal deity of the temple complex was Isis, other temples and shrines were dedicated to her son Horus and the goddess Hathor.

In Ptolemaic times Hathor was associated with Isis, who was in turn associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. For centuries the temple complex was the holiest site for Isis worshippers.
In 1902 when the first dam was built on the Nile, the island began being flooded at regular intervals. In 1964 it was destined to become completely submerged. Thanks to the UNESCO's intervention the sanctuary was completely disassembled and rebuilt on the island of Agelika.
The approach by water is quite the most beautiful. Seen from the level of a small boat, the island, with its palms, its colonnades, its pylons, seems to rise out of the river like a mirage. As the boat glides nearer, those sculptured towers rise higher against the sky. All looks solid, stately, perfect. If a sound of antique chanting were to be borne along the quiet air–if a procession of white-robed priests bearing aloft the veiled ark of the god, were to come sweeping round between the palms and pylons–we should not think it strange.

Unfinished Obelisque

 

The unfinished obelisk is the largest known ancient obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries of ancient Egypt in Aswan. It was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut conmemorating her 16th anniversary on the throne. It is nearly one third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 42 m and would have weighted nearly 1,200 tons. Scientists speculate that it was intended to complement the so-called Lateran Obelisk which was originally at Karnak and is now outside the Lateran Palace in Rome.

The obelisk's creators began to carve it directly out of bedrock, but cracks appeared in the granite and the project was abandoned. Originally it was thought that the stone had an undetected flaw but it is also possible that the quarrying process allowed the cracking to develop by releasing the stress. The unfinished obelisk offers unusual insights into ancient Egyptian stone-working techniques, with marks from workers' tools still clearly visible as well as ocher-colored lines marking where they were working.

Aswan Holidays

The Best of Three – 14 Nights Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, Aswan

15 Days / 14 Nights

Start off at Luxor and cruise down the Nile to Aswan for a preview of cultural grandness, followed by a stop at Cairo, the heart of Egypt, and then relax in Hurghada and enjoy the sun.

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Best of the Nile - 7 Nights Luxor, Aswan

8 Days / 7 Nights

Spend an entire week discovering the beauty of Upper Egypt, unfolding its treasures, as you sail through Luxor to Aswan.

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Egypt’s Treasures – 7 Nights Cairo, Aswan, Luxor

8 Days / 7 Nights

Discover Egypt's treasures in an 8 day vacation; where you will explore the highlights of Cairo, fly to Aswan and sail to Luxor on board a 5 star cruise ship.

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A Legnedary Vacation – 7 Nights Cairo, Luxor, Aswan

8 Days / 7 Nights

Enjoy the best of Cultural Egypt by visiting Luxor, and take a relaxing cruise down to Aswan, passing by Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo; from Aswan fly to Cairo, the heart of modern Egypt.

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Best of the Nile - 4 Nights Luxor, Aswan

5 Days / 4 Nights

A 4 night stay at Upper Egypt, full of history, grandeur and beauty. Let us take you on a Nile journey across Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo & Aswan.

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Charming Culture of Egypt – 7 Nights Cairo, Aswan, Luxor

8 Days / 7 Nights

Unfold Egypt's charming culture, as you visit the highlights of Cairo and then sail from Aswan to Luxor on a 5 star cruise ship.

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Best of the Nile - 3 Nights Aswan, Luxor

4 Days / 3 Nights

A short, sweet and grand in history stay at Upper Egypt, just for 3 nights. We will take you on a journey across Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu and Luxor.

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The Great Wonders of Egypt - 9 Nights Cairo, Aswan, Luxor

10 Days / 9 Nights

A ten day tour, unfolding the great wonders of Egypt throughout Cairo, Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu & Luxor.

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The Best of Both Worlds – 14 Nights Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada

15 Days / 14 Nights

Get to experience the best of what Egypt has to offer, the best of two worlds; between the historical outstanding culture and the tranquility of its beaches and nature.

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Legends on the Nile - 11 Nights Cairo, Luxor, Abu Simbel, Aswan

12 Days / 11 Nights

Spend two nights in Cairo and then fly to Upper Egypt. There, you will be introduced to ancient wonders as you sail to legendary attractions.

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Scuba Diving in Aswan, the Red Sea

Sharm El Sheikh lies at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula in the Red Sea. It offers a variety of dive sites from reefs and walls to wrecks. The climate is hot, the water is warm and clear, and the reefs are covered in life. Diving is readily available everywhere and there are nearly fifty dive Centers in the region. More Europeans learn to dive here than anywhere else in the world and diving is ideal for beginners. Whatever your experience, dive Centers require you to do one local dive before they will take you on a boat trip in order to give you an opportunity to orient yourself to Red Sea diving.

Shopping and Leisure in Aswan

For those who love to shop, Sharm El-Sheikh provides ample opportunities to indulge in retail therapy. Sharm El Sheikh is famous for producing jewellery, leather goods and rugs. Expect to haggle when shopping in Sharm El Sheikh! It is all part of the experience and the shop owners will be shocked if you don’t try to negotiate! The majority of shops and shopping centres are based in Naama Bay but Sharm Old Market is great for hunting out bargains. If you want real value for money you should go south-west to Dahab which is less busy and less commercialised than Sharm.

There is more to Sharm El-Sheikh than beaches, sea and shopping of course. It’s a well developed area that feels “European” with refined hotels, facilities and amenities. Sharm el Sheikh has a fantastic range of restaurants, bars and cafes to visit as well as the hotels own all inclusive menus. The market area in Old Sharm is popular for its abundance of seafood restaurants and cheap prices. For those wanting a romantic evening, head to the” On Deck” restaurant in the Iberotel Lido hotel in Naama Bay where you can dine on a pontoon overlooking the water. The Il Mercato promenade, often called “Les Champs Elysee” of Sinai close to the Iberotel IL Mercato Hotel offers a varied selection of excellent cafes and restaurants.

There’s even an 18-hole Championship golf course in Jolie Ville Golf Resort, located only five kilometres from the main hotels in Sharm el Sheikh which is open to non guests. It includes a driving range and artificial lakes and is a perfect escape for those who love the game.

Aswan Nightlife

Pacha

Pacha is situated in the of Naama bay , and is the premier party place in Sharm El Sheikh that embodies the essence of the Pacha spirit with a twist of mystical Arabia added for pure indulgence.

Little Buddha

Little Buddha is located in the heart of Naama Bay , and being one of the hottest venues in Sharm El Sheikh, it provides its clientele with the finest dining experience, an eclectic atmosphere, sublime surroundings, and the latest sounds from around the globe.

Hard Rock Cafe

When in Egypt, knock the Sinai sand from your sandals and settle into the Hard Rock Cafe Sharm El Sheikh for a tall cool drink to quench your parched throat. The restaurant's huge guitar and sky dome act as an oasis beckoning every desert denizen to a good time. It provides a fascinating atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes.

Camel Bar

It is a two-storey restaurant/bar that offers both indoor and outdoor areas. The lower floor is an ideal venue for those willing to indulge in a drink along with lively music, while the top floor overlooks Naama Bay and offers a more relaxing atmosphere with number of sumptuous international dishes and shisha.