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Aswan Travel Guide

Aswan, Egypt’s 3rd largest city and the largest in Upper Egypt, is situated at the foot of the Nile Valley to the North end of Lake Nasser. It is a major mining spot for aluminum and iron; it's also a favorite place for tourists to visit due to it being a major stop for cruise boats, for the River Nile as well as Lake Nasser. It has a local market that is an excellent place to do your holiday shopping; this is especially true if you want spices as you will find the best types of fresh spices here.

 

aswan

 

Aswan is the capital of its own Governorate and has a population of about 1.2 million. Most of these are Nubians and local tribes of Kenzo.

 

After the construction of the High Dam, the city became a refuge for Nubians who chose to flee to Egypt after the waters flooded their homelands, as well as becoming the worldwide rescue campaign of the Nubian monuments during and after its construction.

 

Aswan takes its name from the ancient Egyptian word “Swan”, meaning “the market”. This is because it was located on the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands, bringing gold, slaves and ivory 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 map
 

In ancient times, the city worshipped the God Khnum, 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 Aswan's location, just north of the Tropic of Cancer, the city has a 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.

 

Aswan is derived from the Ancient Egyptian word Swan, which means "the market"! It was located on the main trading route between Egypt and the southern lands, where gold, slaves, and ivory passed 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!
In Ancient times the God Khoum was the major God of the city, but in later periods the Goddess Isis, Goddess of magic and maternity, became the main patron God, with a temple being built for her at Philae.

 

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:

 

By road
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.

 

By flight:
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.

 

By train:
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.

 

Sleeper trains: From Cairo to Aswan /Cairo

 

Train No.

Train Type

Time Of Departure

Price

Duration

Train 84

Cairo Aswan

French

20:00

per person in double room $65

Single $105

It arrives Luxor at 05:00, leaves at 5:15 and arrives Aswan at 8:15 

Train 85

Aswan  Cairo

French

18:30

per person in double room $65

Single $105

It arrives Luxor at 21:30, leaves at 21:45 and arrives Cairo at  6:45

 

 

 

By Cruise
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.

 

 

You could also attend the marvelous Sound and Light show at the Temple of Philae; the schedules are listed below.  

 

Sound and light show schedule at Philae:

 

ShowFirst Show Second Show Third Show
Daytime8:00 PM 9:15 PM 10:30 PM
SaturdayEnglishArabic 
SundayGermanFrench 
MondayEnglishFrench 
TuesdayFrenchEnglish 
WednesdayFrenchEnglish 
ThursdayFrenchFrench Italian
FridayEnglishFrench 
Cost75 LE75 LE75 LE

Sites to see in, or around, Aswan:

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple, or The Temple of Luxor, is among the most beautiful...

Karnak Temple

While the Temple of Karnak might be the largest temple in the world,...

The Temple Of Hatshepsut At Deir El-Bahri

Thanks to its design and decorations, the Temple of...

The Temple Of Kom Ombo

The Location of the Temple of Kom Ombo The small town of Kom Ombo...

The Temple Of Edfu

City of Edfu: Edfu is located 60km north of Aswan. It...

The Unfinished Obelisk

An obelisk is traditionally defined as a tall and...

The High Dam

The High Dam of Aswan is one of the most important achievements of...

The Aswan Botanical Island (Kitchener's Island)

One of the best reasons to visit Aswan is to see the botanical...

The Temple Of Dendera

Visitors to Luxor should try to visit the famous Temple of Hathor...

The Temple Of Medinet Habu

The Temple of Medinet Habu is one of the largest memorial temples in...

The Temple Of Maharraqa

A small temple that dates back the end of the Greco-Roman period. Its...

The Temples Of Abu Simbel

The Temples of Abu Simbel are some of...

The Temple Of Derr

This temple, located 208 KM south of Aswan, was...

The Temple Of Wadi Es-Sebua

Egypt's temple of Wadi Es-Sebua is...

The Temple Of Dekka

South Egpyt's Temple of Dekka is about 100km...

The Tombs Of The Nobles At Thebes (Luxor)

This site has rock-cut tombs of nobles and high officials of ancient...

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