Aswan, a city on the Nile River, is located where the Western and Eastern Deserts meet, and north of the great expanse of water created by the Aswan Dam; which is known as Lake Nasser.
What makes this city even more unique is its large mass of palm trees and tropical gardens.
It also has massive islands such as “Elephantine”, the city’s largest one.
Aswan is considered to be one of top spots in one of the most beautiful countries, Egypt.
Not only is it full of historical treasures to visit, beautiful sights to see, but it also known to have the friendliest people in the country.
As a matter of fact, Aswan’s reputation as a trading center has developed because of its people who traded the goods they produce.
If you haven’t visited Aswan previously, then this blog will let you know more about 8 of the top historical attractions that you should visit while in it.
Abu Simbel Temples
Surprisingly, the name “Abu Simbel” came from a simple local boy who used to guide the excavators to the site of the temples.
Visiting the amazing temples of it is definitely one of the things to do in this historical city.
They are the biggest in Aswan.
Despite being a 3 hour drive, these temples are a very inspiring construction built by Ramses II in the 13th century in order to impress the people south of Egypt.
No doubt, they are worth the visit.
Six centuries later, the temples were on their way to being submerged by sand. However, they were discovered in the 19th century and it took nearly four years to relocate them to its current spot, beside Lake Nasser.
Indeed, saving the temples from the rising waters of the Nile that occurred due to the construction of the “Aswan Dam” was one of the greatest engineering challenges that challenged human history.
When the water raised from the High Dam and Lake Nasser, in cooperation with UNESCO, 60 expeditions exerted lots of efforts to save and rescue thousands of objects from hundreds of sites.
This museum is one of Aswan’s highlights that shows the culture and history of the Nubian people, from prehistory to modern times.
Additionally, it shows their sculptures, jewelry, textiles, and even cooking implements.
The space dedicated to the Nubian Museum is 7000 square meters with 43000 square meters of both gardens and public spaces.
Being the oldest inhabited area of the region and the biggest island in the Nile near Aswan, Elephantine Island is considered to be one of the very delightful places to visit.
The Nubian people living in it are one of the most friendly, kindest, and hospitable people living on earth, to the extent that you actually won’t be able to pass by them without being invited for a cup of tea! Generally speaking, Elephantine Island will provide you with a great understanding into Aswan’s local life.
Regardless of the fact that the northern end of the island is taken up by the Movenpick Resort, the rest of the island doesn’t only have the two Nubian Villages; Siou and Koti, but it also has the Aswan Museum.
What makes the Nubian Villages unique are the living traditions of the Nubian people.
Correspondingly, what’s special about the Aswan Museum is that it features Nubian artefacts that were saved during the construction of the Aswan Dam.
Horatio Kitchener; the commander of the Egyptian army, indulged his passion for nature and turned “Kitchener’s island”, which is located to the west of the “Elephantine Island” into the marvelous “Aswan Botanical Gardens”.
By importing various species of plants from different parts of Africa, the Far East, and India, he created a stunning sight which is full of majestic plants and trees.
Furthermore, it has several beautiful pathways that are shaded by trees.
Not to mention the various kinds of birds such as doves, sparrow owls, white peacocks, ravens, and ducks that are literally filling the garden.
If you are a fan of nature, then this place will be the perfect place to visit, especially during sunsets.
During the process of the creation of the “High Dam”; one of the greatest engineering accomplishments, many Nubian villages that were in this area were lost.
However, the construction of this dam is considered to be a controversial point.
That is because it actually controls the flow of the river which stops the disaster of the Nile’s annual flooding and even the damage in the rest of Egypt.
So, one of the top things to do in Aswan is taking a short drive to the “High Dam” and enjoy the beautiful area surrounding it.
Moreover, it will also help you understand the major defining feature in the Nile’s landscape.
Philae temple of Kom Ombo
There is no doubt that one of the most enjoyable things to do while in Aswan is to take a felucca ride up the Nile to the “Philaetemple of Kom Ombo”.
Of course, you shouldn’t miss its’ famous sound and light show that makes the beautiful temple worth going to. When you watch this show, you will relate the story of the legends of Goddess Isis and God Osiris. Also, you will know more about its’ historical facts during the days when the Philae temple remained flooded for almost 6 months until every stone was relocated and the restoration process got completed in year 1960.
Temple of Isis at Philae
When in Aswan, make sure to visit the last temple that was built in classical Egyptian style; “Temple of Isis”, which was being worshipped until the 6th century.
Philae was considered to be the greatest of Egyptian gods to the extent that it reached all the way to Britain.
Despite that the temple was used as a church during the region of Emperor Justinian, early Christians and Muslims damaged much of it over the centuries.
When you go to the island where the temple is, make sure to see the main temple with its 1st Pylon, the 2nd Pylon which leads into the Hypostyle Hall.
Besides, you can see many other monuments like: The Kiosk of Trajan, The Chapel of Osiris, The Temple of Horus, The Temple of Hathor, The Gateway of Tiberius, the Gateway of Diocletian, and The Temple of Augustus.
What is even more unique about the temples’ visit is the incredible sound and light show that magically engages you in its environment while narrating the story of Isis and Osiris.
Whatever language you speak, you don’t have to worry because this show is held twice every evening and in multiple languages.
Of course, at least one of them is in English language.
Monastery of St Simeon
Whether you are the type of person that enjoys boat or camel rides, you can still visit this historical place.
Firstly, it was dedicated to the local saint Anba Hedra in the 7th century. Then, it was rebuilt and dedicated to St Simeon in the 10th century.
When you get there, make sure to visit the upper terrace, the refectory, the cell with stone beds, the corridor in the keep, the scenes of Christ, the painting of the Virgin Mary, and the painting of the 24 elders of the revelation.
The international conference on the “Conservation of Architectural Heritage“
– CAH will be taking place from 21st to 24th of February 2020 in Lu-xor, Egypt.
This makes attending or participating in the conference a very great opportunity to visit 8 of the top stunning and historical attractions in Aswan; which you can go to from Lu-xor by taking a fantastic Nile Cruise.
Click here to know all the details about this conference: