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Aswan Tourist Attractions

The town Aswan (ancient Greek Syene) in Upper Egypt, celebrated for its cleanliness, lies in latitude 24° 5 north below the First Cataract.
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There are only scanty remains of the ancient city of Syene on the right bank of the Nile mainly inscriptions on rocks and architectural fragments built into modern houses.

Qasr el-Mula

In the south of the town are the ruins of the Qasr el-Mula, situated on a hill amid beautiful gardens, and a small Ptolemaic temple.


Evening view over the Nile and Corniche in Aswan.
From the railway station, at the north end of the town, a street leads west to the Corniche, a riverside promenade on which are the offices of the Governorate, several hotels and the Tourist Bazaar, with the Tourist Information Office.
On the opposite side of the river can be seen the Kubbet el Hawa, a sheikh's tomb, crowning a hill which contains rock tombs of the Old and Middle Kingdoms.


Spices for sale at the Bazaar in Aswan.
From the station Sharia el-Suq runs south, parallel to the river, to the center of the town. In this street and the adjoining side streets is the Bazaar, a magnet for visitors with its many little shops and stalls and its colorful bustle of activity.

Cataract Hotel

Beyond this, in a magnificent situation on the banks of the Nile with a view of the island of Elephantine, stands the old Cataract Hotel, set in beautiful gardens reaching down to the river, with a spacious shady terrace and a swimming pool. Adjoining it is the modern New Cataract Hotel. To the east of the Cataract Hotel, on a granite rock below a stone wall of the Roman period, can be seen an inscription dating from the reign of Amenophis IV. On the right is Men, "Superintendent of Works", before an image of Amenophis III; to the left his son Bek, Chief Architect at Teliel-Amarna, before an image (defaced) of Amenophis IV, on which the sun's rays descend.

Ptolemaic Temple

At the south end of the town is a small Ptolemaic temple (unfinished and poorly preserved) built by Euergetes I and Philopator and dedicated to Isis of Syene.
The main doorway is crowned by a cavetto cornice. On the left hand door post, above, Euergetes presents an image of the goddess Maat to Amun; below, Euergetes in the presence of Min-Amun and of Mut and Isis. On the lintel Euergetes (in one case accompanied by his wife Berenice) is depicted before various gods. Within the doorway the King is shown in the presence of Thoth (right) and Harsiesis (left), with an inscription above each scene. The interior consists of a hall with two pillars in which are several bases for statues and sacred boats, and three chapels. On the rear wall of the middle chapel are reliefs depicting Euergetes (accompanied in one scene by Berenice) in the presence of the deities of Syene.

View of the Town

From the Tomb of Sheikh Harun, on a hill in the desert to the southeast of the town, there is a fine view of the town. Farther southeast is the Iittle Fort Sidi Harun.

Arab Cemeteries

In the desert to the south of Aswan are ancient Arab cemeteries. The graves are marked by rectangles of undressed stone and a slab bearing an inscription, those of wealthy people by small domed structures. On higher ground is a sheikh's tomb. On the surrounding hills large mosque like cenotaphs commemorate celebrated holy men and women such as Sheikh Mahmud, Sheikh Ali and the Lady (Sayyida) Zeinab, whose birthdays (mulis) are celebrated here.

Granite Quarries

Elephantine Island & the Nilometer

Elephantine Island makes for a pleasant diversion from the hustle and bustle of Aswan. The island was home to the Nilometer, used by ancient Egyptians to monitor river levels The Nilometer can still be seen.

Rock Tombs

The Rock Tombs were built for the princes and grandees of Elephantine. They are on a hill known as Kubbet el-Hawa.

Monastery of St Simeon

Founded in the 7th C, the Monastery of St Simeon is considered to be one of the best preserved Coptic monasteries in Egypt.

High Dam

The High Dam at Aswan is a massive dam, which resulted in the creation of Lake Nasser. The dam eliminated unpredictable floods and allowed for controlled irrigation, but also created its own set of problems.

New Kalabsha

0.75mi/1km south of the west end of the Aswan High Dam, on the western shore of Lake Nasser, is the newly created archeological site of New Kalabsha, on which the temples of Kalabsha, Beit el-Waii and Kertassi, saved from the rising waters of the lake by a rescue operation which attracted international support, have been rebuilt.

Kalabsha - Temple of Kalabsha

Because of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nassar the Temple of Kalabsha was disassembled from its original location 50 km south, and rebuilt in its present location.

Rock Temple

The Rock Temple is also known by the local name of Beit el-Waii. It was relocated to New Kalabasha after its original site was flooded due by the creation of Lake Nassar.

Kalabsha - Temple of Kertassi

A little way north of the Kalabsha Temple is the small Temple of Kertassi, also transferred here from its original site, some 20mi/30km farther south. Only 25ft/8m square, it is very similar to the Kiosk at Philae. It is in much ruin, preserving only two Hathor columns at the entrance (which faces north) and four other columns with elaborate floral capitals and a single monolithic architrave.

Nubian Museum

The Nubia Museum opened in 1997. The collection reflects the history and character of Nubia. Among other pieces the collection includes the statue of Ramses II, statute of Amenras, the head of the Shpatka, and the head of black granite of Tahraqa.
Many of the items were discovered during the UNESCO salvage operation in sites that are now submerged.
Address: el Fanadek Street, 81111 Aswan, Egypt
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