Aswan is a laid-back and pleasant city north of the Aswan Dams on the East Bank of the Nile at the first cataract. The river in Aswan is wide, languorous and stunningly beautiful, flowing gently down from Lake Nasser, around dramatic granite boulders and palmy islands.
The city boasts many historical monuments like Temple of Isis at Philae Island, the Unfinished Obelisk, the dams, ruins of ancient Abu Simbel Temple, Aswan Museum, the exquisite botanical gardens, and the Nubian Museum.
Aswan has a hot desert climate like most cities in Egypt, it has the hottest summer days of any other city. Aswan is considered one of the hottest, sunniest and driest cities in the world. Temperatures range from 40 to 22 °C (104 to 72 °F) in the summer and 22 to 5 °C (72 to 41 °F) in winter. The average humidity is 39.9%, with a maximum mean of 57% during winter and a minimum mean of 27% during summer.
- Unfinished Obelisk
The largest known ancient obelisk and is located in the northern region of the stone quarries of ancient Egypt. If finished it would have measured around 42 meters (120 feet) and would have weighed nearly 1,200 tons.
- Fatimid Cemetery
Just Across the street from the Unfinished Obelisk and the Nubian Museum on the other side. Dive into the faded former glory of the Fatimid Empire from the 9th century on the graveyards of this historical place.
- Saint Michael Cathedral
A huge Coptic cathedral built recently to replace an older-smaller church on the same site; with breathtaking paintings and Coptic art.
- Elephantine Island
Elephantine Island is 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) long and 400 meters (1,300 feet) wide. It’s occupied mostly by the Nubian villages of Siou and Koti. It’s also home to the famous Nilometers, the Temples of Sati, and Aswan Museum.
- El Nabatat Island (Botanical Island)
A small, oval-shaped botanical island/garden in the Nile River. It is less than a kilometer long and its width is less than half a kilometer. The island/garden is filled with birds, hundreds of plant species, trees from India, and palm trees.
- Qubbet El-Hawa
An archeological site of a big dune on the West Bank of the Nile, home for the Tombs of the Nobles. The place provides amazing views of Aswan, the Nile River, and the surrounding landscape.
- Mausoleum of Aga Khan
Is the mausoleum of Aga Khan III, Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, who died in 1957.
- Monastery of St. Simeon
One of the largest Coptic monasteries in the world, dating back to the sixth century.
- Philae Temple
The last ancient temple built in the classical Egyptian architectural style, in honor of Isis (Goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom). A major multinational UNESCO team relocated Philae to its new location on Agilkia Island, because of the flooding to create Lake Nasser. The temple construction began in approximately 690 BC.
- Abu Simbel temples
Two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel village in Nubia, 230 kilometers southwest of Aswan, and near the border with Sudan. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC.
The complex was relocated in 1968 on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, to prevent it being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.
Aswan city is laid-back and pleasant. It’s the perfect place to linger for a few days, rest, and recover from the rigors of travelling along the Nile.
Visitors get to take in the magic of the Nile at sunset, stroll in the exotic souq/marketplace (one of the best outside Cairo), or appreciate the gentleness of the Nubians.
Although Aswan is not widely known for its touristic attractions, it does possess a great amount of ancient monuments. In Aswan, the monuments vary between the different ages and historical periods that this great country have went through. From the pharaonic to the Coptic and Islamic era; Aswan have got it all.
Bikes are available at almost every hotel; which allows visitors to tour around the city moving from one exotic location to the other.
Getting on a felucca and taking it to the nearby islands is a must. It provides tourists with the privilege of visiting islands that boasts multiple temples, museums, and villages in the middle of the Nile River.