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 favorite 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 is the 3rd largest city & the capital of its own Governorate which has a population of about 1.2 million people. Most of these are Nubians, and local tribes of Kenzo.
Aswan’s name is derived from the ancient Egyptian word “Swan”, which means “the market”! This is because it was located on the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands; with gold, slaves and ivory passing into Egypt. The governors of the 6th Dynasty sent many expeditions to explore the many African countries located to the south, and most of these started from Aswan. It was also the major source of granite, sandstone and quartzite used in the construction of the various monuments throughout Egypt.
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 or trade. It has earned its name thanks to the city’s strategic position, on the trade route linking the North of Egypt to its South.
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. The best times to visit Aswan are May and September, summers are scorching, and winter temperatures have been known to reach 27 during the day, with cold nights.
In ancient times the God Khnum was the major God of the city, but he was later replaced by the Goddess Isis, Goddess of magic and maternity, in the Greco Roman period. A temple was built for her on the Island of Philae, which had to be moved, along with other structures, when the waters of Lake Nasser engulfed the island. Though still known as “the Temples of Philae, they can now be accessed on the nearby Agilika Island.
Because of the location of Aswan, just north of the Tropic Of Cancer, the city enjoys a very hot climate throughout the year and it is advised to cover your head when walking about and drink water constantly.
Aswan is situated 890Km (553 miles) to the south of Cairo and 220Km (137 miles) to the south of Luxor. It is the third most popular place to visit in Egypt, behind Cairo and Luxor, and is accessible in a number of ways.
The population of the Aswan governorate is around 1.2 million and mostly consists of Nubians and local tribes of Kenzo. The city became very important after the construction of the high dam, and the worldwide rescue campaign of the Nubian monuments during and after its construction.
Because of the location of Aswan, just north of the Tropic Of Cancer, the city enjoys a very hot climate throughout the year! It is advised to cover your head when walking about and drink water constantly.
How to Get To Aswan:
Though Aswan is connected by road to Cairo and has a good bus connection with the capital, tourists are asked not to attempt to use this mode of transport for this journey and are therefore left with only rail or flight as an alternative. The road to Luxor can be used though as it gives the opportunity to visit sites such as Edfu and Kom Ombo. Please note: if you do intend to use this mode of transport you are best booking your seats at least 24 hours in advance to ensure you get the seats you want.
Aswan International Airport is located 25Km (16 miles) southwest of the city and can be reached from most countries around the world, though, like Luxor, it is most popular for charter flights. From here you can also fly to most of the main cities and towns in Egypt, as well as arriving from them. EgyptAir runs daily flights from Cairo to Aswan, as well as Aswan to Cairo, which take, on average, about 60 minutes. It is also possible to book flights to Abu Simbel, though this must be done in advance.
Aswan is the terminus on the main Cairo to Aswan railway line and has a modern station at the northern end of the city. Services to both Cairo and Luxor are very frequent, though restriction on tourists are in place right now which allows them to only use the sleeper service, or the trains either side of them.
Nowadays you can only go to Luxor by cruise boat. The River Nile has not been used for cruises between Cairo and Aswan since the late 1990’s. Another popular cruise is one on Lake Nasser, which gives the only way to visit some of Nubia’s ancient monuments.
What Should you See in & Around Aswan?
El-Mo’alla Qubbet al-Hawa Monastery
St. Simeon Monastery (Anba Hatre)
The Ancient Capital of Egypt at Hierankonpolis
The Aswan High Dam
The Botanical Gardens on Kitchener Island
The Island of Elephantine
The Kiosk of Qertassi
The Nubian Museum
The Temple of Amada
The Temple of Beit el-Wali
The Temple of Dakka
The Temple of Derr
The Temple of Gerf Hussein
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
The Temple of Kalabsha
The Temple of Khnum at Esna
The Temple of Sobek at Kom Ombo
The Temple of Wadi El-Sebou
The Temples of Philae
The Tombs of the Nobles
The Unfinished Obelisk