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Aswan is located about 899 km south from Cairo, Aswan is a serene Nile Valley destination where the Nile is more majestic than anywhere else, flowing through granite rocks, and round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. It is considered as an all-time favourite winter destination.

Moreover, you'll be surprised to see how many monuments and sites this small city has to offer. Consider sailing to the temple of Philae, seeing the Agha Khan Mausoleum and taking an excursion to St. Simeon’s Monastery.

Egypt's sunniest southern city is the perfect destination to stroll and relax in a magical cultural setting: wander down the broad walkway, locally known as the corniche, to watch feluccas slowly sailing the Nile then stop at one of the floating restaurants to enjoy Nubian music and freshly caught fish. Aswan offers a splendid view of the Nile and is a great starting point for a Nile cruise.

Aswan also offers a rich cultural experience; you’ll get to know Nubian culture and shop for spices, henna tattoos, souvenirs and African handmade goods at the Aswan souk. The word Aswan derives in fact from the Ancient Egyptian word “Soun” meaning souk, trade r market. From Old Kingdom times Aswan was a strategically important garrison town, guarding Egypt’s southern frontier, and acting as a military base for incursions to Nubia and Sudan. Located at the cross roads of ancient trade routes between Egypt, Africa, and India, where exotic goods were traded, explains why precious spice markets offering exotic remedies, and herbs are a major feature of the city. For thousands of years the flooding of the Nile deposited fresh, fertilizing slit on the land, making agriculture a dominant activity for Aswan’s farmer community. In 1960’s, Egypt’s former President Gamal Abd El Nasser built the High Dam to save Egypt from the dangers of the flood by regulating the flow of the Nile, and so increase Egypt’s cultivable land, and generate electric power.

The stone quarries of ancient Egypt located here were celebrated for their stone, and especially for the granitic rock called Syenite. They furnished the colossal statues, obelisks, and monolithal shrines that are found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids; and the traces of the quarrymen who wrought in these 3,000 years ago are still visible in the native rock. They lie on either bank of the Nile, and a road, four miles (6 km) in length, was cut beside them from Aswan to Philae.

In Aswan you can visit Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts dating from pre-Dynastic times onward. It is the largest island in the area. Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat). It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (1850-1916) and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi. But the island is known for its garden and the exotic plants the Kitchener planted there, and which continue to flourish today.

Since Ancient times, Aswan has also been known for its environmental therapy: burying the aching parts of your body in Aswan’s sand gives valuable results and can help relieving you from stubborn ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, joint edema and skin inflammation. The town’s climate is also known to have great relaxing and rejuvenating properties.

What to see?

Elephantine Island: Named so for being a major Ivory trading post, this oldest inhibited part of Aswan provides visitors with an insight on ancient times. The Island was the cult center of the God Khnum; Creator of human kind, and God of the Nile flood. The ruins of Khnum’s temple built in the 4th Century BC could still be visited, as well as the magnificent Statet temple built by Queen Hatshepsut. Check out the three Nubian villages located on in the middle of the island, characterized by brightly colored houses.

Nubian Museum: A museum dedicated to trace the life in Nubia, from the earliest settlements to the present day. A visit to the museum reveals magnificent Nubian crafts and pottery worth seeing for those who want to get a deeper insight on the rich culture flourishing on the banks of the Nile.

The High Dam: The immense Aswan's High Dam was built between 1960 and 1971, currently offering its visitors with a pavilion detailing the construction of the Dam.

Recommended: Head 500 meters south the Dam to visit the world’s largest, artificial Lake; ”Lake Nasser”. This lake was created by the construction of the Dam, where an enormous blue expanse stretches beautifully in the arid desert.

Temple of Philae: From Philae Isis was said to watch over the sacred island of Biga, once of the mythical burial sites of her husband Osiris. After the building of the High Dam, the islands temples were partly submerged in water, and UNESCO led a project to move the temples to Agilika. Now visitors can take a boat to drop them off to Agilika, where both the magnificent temples of Isis, and Hathor are major attractions on the Island. Recommended: Do not miss the Light and Sound show, revealing magnificent stories about ancient history, and its Gods.

Abu Simbel Temple: Tourists come from all over the world to visit the Great Temple of Abu Simbel, and the small temple of Hathor. The breathtaking sight of Abu Simbel, overlooking the tranquil river was dedicated to Ramses II. A humongous statue of Ramses II wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt projected on the façade was built to both impress, and frighten people. However, the temple’s interior reveal magnificent unity of God, and King. Dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the smaller temple at Abu Simbel was built by Ramses II to honor his favorite wife Nefertari. The captivating hypostyle hall has Hathor-headed pillars, and is decorated with scenes of Ramses punishing enemies, watched by Nefertari.

Recommended: Visit Abu Simbel at times of solstices; which happens twice a year: Feb. and Oct. 21, where the dawn sunlight, lightens the entire length of the temple. What is amazing is that 3 of the 4 Ramses statues on the façade are lit except for the God of darkness… a once in a lifetime sight worth shooting.

Climate:

Aswan is Egypt's hottest, driest inhabited city. Aswan's climate ranges from mild in the winter to very hot in the summer with absolutely no rain all year. There is maybe 1 or 2 mm of rain every 5 years. Aswan is one of the driest inhabited places in the world; as of early 2001, the last rain there was seven years earlier. As of 17 October 2012, the last rainfall was thunderstorms on May 13, 2006, January 2010  and October 2012. In Nubian settlements, they generally do not bother to roof all of the rooms in their houses.

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