Things to do in Aswan

Discover the best attractions in Aswan, which is located in the south of Egypt. It is the smallest of Egypt touristic cities, but it also has the unique mark of the Nubian culture that is still a strong influence in southern Egypt. For those who are interested in pharaonic history,  couldn't miss things to do in Aswan, such as the impressive Philae Temple on an island behind the old Aswan Dam, and also the famous Abu Simbel Temples and more. Know more about this majestic city on the Nile Banks.

 

The Nubian region lies on the Nile River, 123,000 square kilometers between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central northern Sudan. It had been one in all the first civilizations of ancient Africa, which invaded the land around 1500 BC. Nubia was highly famous for being the house of the many powerful kingdoms, most prominent is the kingdom of Kush, which even conquered Egypt within the 8th century BC and formed the 25th dynasty. Within the 4th century AD, the great kingdom of kush came to an end, and then Nubia was divided between Egypt and Sudan,  However, during the 19th century in 1899, the Khedive of Egypt united the whole region.

 

Nubian in Ancient Egypt

 

Both two countries had a profound relationship during peace and war times. They both used similar royal symbols supported rock art. there have been many cultural exchanges and cooperation and even marriage between both. They'd a robust economic relationship through trading in ebony, ivory, leopard skins, and a spread of resins. The Nubia acted as Egypt’s connection to the riches of east and south of Africa like gold, incense, ebony, copper, ivory, and rare animals.

 

Nubian Temples

 

The word Nubia comes from the word “Nub,” which suggests gold for the number of gold mines within the area, rare stones, and the house of a number of the foremost beautiful and majestic monuments in Egypt. The Nubia area is famous for holding two of the outstanding principal temples within the history of ancient Egypt, the Temple of Philae and Abu Simbel temple. UNESCO rescued both the two temples within the mid-60s due to the High High Dam's disastrous consequences.

 

Nubian Crafts

 

The Nubians are known to be a proud, gentle, honest, and enduring people with their own unique culture and customs. Their houses were known of containing a backyard and topped with a dome. Their culture includes different forms of art, stunning drawings, exquisite decorations, and enchanting pottery, handicrafts weaving of baskets and mats from palm fronds and necklaces.

 

Nubian Customs and Villages

 

They have many traditions, dances, and a unique set of customs within their culture, especially when the wedding takes place and a newborn “Sebou” is delivered. All of them marry within the same area thanks to their inclusive nature. Their villages are quite different from anything in Egypt and divided to 2 tribes which are Al-Fadigka: the Arab Al-Orayqat (Originally Bedouin Traders who Migrated from Hijaz), and Al-Konoz, also called Al-Matoka (A mixture of Arab Tribes, the most important Being Al-Gohayna Tribe, from the Arabian Peninsula).

 

Nubian Museum

 

The UNESCO built the Nubian Museum in Aswan to bring the Nubian culture back to life because it was constructed supported Nubian architecture and ancient sandstone and holds about 2,000 artifacts; many of them are from ancient Nubian culture and plenty of colorful which exhibits form the Nubian heritage.

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The location of the Aswan dam

The Aswan Dam is located in the south of Egypt, Aswan crosses the Nile River and utilizes its power for several social and economic cases.

History of building Aswan Dam

British engineers started working on the first Aswan Dam in 1899 and completed the work in 1902, but the final result showed to be inadequate for the strong currents of the Nile. Some attempts to raise the height of the Dam had been carried out, but it still insufficient.
The Egyptian government decided to build a second dam after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, and the building lasted until 1970. The second Dam was primarily intended to be a joint project between Egypt, the United States, and Great Britain. But Unfortunately, the foreign backers canceled the funding before construction began.
Therefore, The Soviet Union offered to provide some of the needed funding to gain a foothold in Africa during the Cold War. They also provided technicians and large machinery, as well as funds.

Benefits of the High Dam

The essential benefit of the Aswan Dam is controlling the annual flooding of the Nile River. Also, the Dam has helped the agricultural industries in the area as it provided much-needed water for irrigation, as well as producing electricity from the hydroelectric output of the river. The Dam granted small villages in Egypt the luxury of using electricity for the first time.
 Lake Nasser, named in his honor, is the giant reservoir created by the Dam –300 miles long and 10 miles wide. Its formation required the resettlement of 90,000 Egyptian peasants and Sudanese Nubian nomads. Most of the water that enters into Lake Nasser is dedicated to agricultural causes; the water is applied to crops on the field through a system that allows two crops a year to be produced, in contrast with the natural precipitation which allowed one crop only in the year. This enhanced the economy of the country.

What happened to the Archaeological sites for building the Dam

Nearly 22 monuments and architectural complexes that were threatened by flooding from Lake Nasser, including the Abu Simbel temples, were relocated to the shores of the lake under the UNESCO Campaign for Nubia. Other monuments that were relocated are Philae, Kalabsha, Amada, The Debod temple, The Temple of Dendur, The Temple of Taffeh, The Temple of Ellesyia, and The temple of Ramses II.

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This beautiful Philae temple complex is one of the foremost things to do in Aswan with it's picturesque in all of Egypt. It sits on Aglika Island just south of the old High Dam, and you need to ride a motorboat to reach the island. This temple was moved to its current location following the development of the High Dam, which threatened to submerge it permanently.

The exact reconstruction at this site carefully completed, painstakingly preserving the original appearance and layout of the complex and even landscaping the island to match its former location.


Philae grew to prominence during the Ptolemaic Dynasty, because of the center of the cult of the goddess Isis. This complex was one of all the last remaining places, where the traditional religion survived after the arrival of Christianity in Egypt, officially closed only in 550 AD as the Early Christians used most of the temple on the island as a church.

This is the reason for the defacement of a number of the figures of the traditional Gods, as these Christians tried to get rid of the pagan imagery from their newly claimed sanctuaries.
The Temple of Isis is the main feature here, but there are several other smaller temples on the island that are worth admiring.

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This site south of Aswan along Lake Nasser's shore is that the most famous altogether of Egypt after the Giza Pyramids. Built by the one of The greatest pharaohs, Ramses, these massive rock-cut temples marked the southern boundary of Egypt with Nubia at the height of its power during the New Kingdom. They were meant to convey the ability of Egypt's rulers to anyone who laid eyes upon them.


Abu Simbel was rediscovered in 1813 by Swiss explorer John Lewis Burckhardt. The temples had been forgotten for long, and the sands had covered nearly most of the large statues. Since 1909 when the sand was finally cleared away, these twin temples became the first famous site in Egypt's south.

Although they appear like monuments to Ramses and his wife, both temples are temples dedicated to the gods. The more significant temple with four huge statues of Ramses seated ahead of it's dedicated to Amun, Ptah, and Re-Harakty. The second temple, still huge although significantly smaller than the primary, was built to honor Ramess's favorite wife, Nefertari, and is devoted to the goddess Hathor.

The temple has six colossal statues on its facade, four depicting Ramesses, and the other two showing Nefertari. The second temple is critical for the status afforded to the wife of the pharaoh, representing her several times on equal footing with the pharaoh.
The enormous temple is illuminated with the sun twice a year, and the sun shines into its deepest recesses to illuminate Ramesses's statue.  The Abu Simbel Sun Festival occurs on February 22nd and October 22nd of each year, with several thousand people gathering early within the morning to determine this testament to the knowledge and skill that the traditional Egyptians possess to align the temple so perfectly.


The temples are located several hours drive south of Aswan, but most tourists make Abu Simbel by plane. The flight from Aswan is simply half-hour, and there are two flights daily, time so that tourists will have about two hours to spend at the temples.
It is also possible to go to Abu Simbel by joining a Nasser cruise. These ships moor just before the temples so that passengers can determine the temples by moonlight and in the early morning light. Looking for a great way to explore this impressive temple, brwose our variety of Egypt Tour to The Temple.

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The dam was conceived as an ambitious, multi-purpose project aimed at improving irrigation and water resource control and development, increasing cultivation, providing protection against high floods and severe drought, and facilitating navigation, fishery expansion and electric power generation, while minimizing harmful effects on the environment and the country's rich cultural heritage.

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