Sights & Landmarks In Aswan
Aswan Town and the East Bank
- Nubian Museum (opposite the Basma Hotel, south of the Old Cataract Hotel, at the southern edge of Aswan town on Sharia Abtal al-Tahrir – approximately a half hour walk from the city centre.). daily 9AM-9:00PM. Nubian antiquities salvaged before the inundation of Nubia are shown in this well-organized exhibit.
- Unfinished Obelisk (South of Aswan). The world’s biggest ancient obelisk, cut out of bedrock. It would have been 42 meters (120 feet) long and weighed about 1,200 tons if completed.
- Fatimid Cemetery (Southern end of Aswan). The dilapidated cemetery bears witness to the Fatimid empire’s fading past splendour.
- Ferial Gardens (Southern end of Corniche). You must stroll around the Kornish Al Nile (Corniche) at least once while in Aswan. It’s a nice walk, made much better by the fact that you can walk directly into the Ferial Gardens at the southern end. They are a park that is both attractive and calming.
The River and Islands
- Elephantine Island: Nubian Villages & Aswan Museum. This island is home to the Nubian settlements of Siou and Koti. The Nilometers and the Temples of Sati, Khnum (ancient rams-head divinity), and Pepinakht-Heqaib are also located here. On the island, there is a Movenpick resort. The Aswan Museum, located on the island’s southern tip, contains artifacts discovered during Elephantine Island excavations.Also, be wary of uninvited local tours, which will culminate in a demand for baksheesh. Locals conduct a frequent boat taxi service to Elephantine Island for just 2LE for one passage, but visitors will be charged more.
- Aswan Botanical Gardens (On the entirety of Kitcheners Island to the west of Elephantine Island). In the 1890s, Lord Kitchener, who owned the 6.8-hectare island, turned it into a botanical park. Hundreds of plant species and palm trees may be found here, as well as birds. A Felucca trip is required to get there.
- Seheyl Island (Just north of the old Aswan Dam). 7AM to 4:00PM. Nubian villages are friendly. It is well-known for its beautiful beaded jewelry. The Famine Stela is also located here. More than 200 inscriptions from the 18th dynasty may be found on this cliff.
- Tombs of the Nobles. 8AM to 4:00PM. The western bank’s northern highlands are densely packed with rock-hewn graves of rulers dating from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Empire. The tombs of the sixth dynasty, some of which are connected family complexes, include significant biographical writings. The inside of the tombs are lavishly adorned with vibrant wall murals depicting daily life scenes, hieroglyphic biographies, and inscriptions detailing the noblemen’s excursions into Africa.
- Kubbet el-Hawa (on top of the hill above the Tombs of the Nobles). A little shrine Or mausoleum dedicated to the memory of a local sheikh and holy figure. The ascent is rewarded by breathtaking views of Aswan, the Nile, and the surrounding terrain, all of which are vividly represented in the place name’s Arabic translation, “the dome of the wind.”
- Mausoleum of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan (High up in the west bank). Tomb of the Islami sect’s 48th iman and his wife. Although closed to the public, it is visible from the outside.
- Monastery of St Simeon. October to May: 8AM-4:00PM; June-September:7:00AM-5:00PM. The monastery of St. Simeon has a lengthy history dating back to the 7th century, and it served as a Christian bastion in southern Egypt until Saladin destroyed it in 1173. It formerly housed 300 monks and could accommodate up to 100 pilgrims at a time while it was still in service. The monastery served as a stronghold and was enclosed by a 10 meter high wall. After Saladin’s devastation, it seems that the monastery was never used again. To reach here, take a camel ride or walk from the Noble Tombs.
- The High Dam. Despite its importance as a piece of infrastructure, the Aswan High Dam is (to put it mildly) a disappointment, especially for dam fans.
- Philae Temple (Agilkia Island). This was the last ancient temple erected in the traditional Egyptian architectural style, dedicated to Isis. The construction started about 690 BC. It was relocated from its original site on Philae Island to Agilkia Island after Lake Nasser’s inundation. Philae and a number of other temples were transferred by a large international UNESCO team and now dot the banks of Lake Nasser. A little distance distant, you can see the submerged original island, accentuated by the steel columns used in the relocation procedure. Don’t miss the Sound and Light performance at night, which is the least corny of the Sound and Light “extravaganzas,” as seen to the right. On your feet, keep an eye out for the incredibly inventive guards who will do anything to get into your photographs or to point out the hieroglyphics that you can quite plainly see for a baksheesh(tip)! Notable is the temple’s conversion to a Christian church, with crosses cut into earlier hieroglyph reliefs and deliberately damaged representations of Egyptian gods. Graffiti going all the way back to the 1800s may be found.
- Kalabsha Temple. As with Philae, UNESCO relocated this temple and its accompanying remains to protect it from Lake Nasser’s flooding. During the reign of Emperor Augustus, the major temple was dedicated to the Nubian fertility and sun deity Marul. Don’t miss the Kiosk of Qirtasi and Ramesses II’s magnificent Temple of Beit al-Wali.
- Abu Simbel. The majority of visitors use Aswan as a base to see this magnificent temple. A convoy leaves at 4 a.m. and is often organized by your travel agency. For further information, see the Abu Simbel page.
- Aswan International Sculpture Park. Each spring, the International Sculpture Symposium brings together sculptors from across the globe to present their work. The pieces are made in Aswan (on the terrace of the Basma Hotel) and then transported to this location to be displayed alongside one another in front of the old quarry.