According to liuxers.com, the southernmost city of Egypt nestled comfortably on an amazingly picturesque section of the Nile, adorned itself with palm islands and a fleet of charming white feluccas (small ships with triangular sails). Together with a separate population of Nubians, who have a separate language and special customs, this city is much more African than the entire north of Egypt. And Aswan is the smallest of all the popular cities on the Nile, where cruise ships stop.
“The ancient Egyptian gates of Africa”, as Aswan is also called, became famous for the very granite from which all the obelisks were created in the vicinity of Luxor.
How to get there
EgyptAir operates about 6 flights a day to Cairo (1.5 hour flight) and one to Luxor (about 30 minutes). The international airport is located 25 km from the city center, on the west bank of the river. Buses do not go there, so you will have to take a taxi, the cost of the trip on which is better to agree in advance (60-80 EGP is the normal price).
You can also get to Aswan by bus from Cairo (140 EGP and 14 hours) and Hurghada (70 EGP and 7 hours). Night trains also run, departing from Aswan at 5-6 pm and arriving in Cairo at 5-6 am, making a stop in Luxor (which is about 3 hours away, the ticket costs 37 EGP), Kom Ombo (45 minutes) and Edfu (1.5 hours). The fare to the final destination, that is, Cairo, is 100-120 USD, the price includes a light dinner and breakfast.
Down the Nile
The best thing you can think of in Aswan is to go for a walk on a real felucca. The most popular route is to Kom Ombo (one night and two days). You can swim to Edfu (two nights and three days). In total, about 6 people can fit on a felucca, food is not included in the price. The cost of one-day tours – from 300 EGP.
You can also go on a more comfortable three-day cruise on a luxury Nile liner to Esna near Luxor. Such a trip will cost about 1500 EGP, you can buy a tour at any travel agency or hotel in Aswan.
Weather in Aswan
Aswan is one of the hottest and driest cities in the world. In winter, the temperature usually stays around +20…+25 °C, at night around +10 °C. In summer, it can easily go over +40 °C during the day and hang at around +25 °C at night.
You can travel around Aswan by taxi. For example, the cost of a three-hour trip to the temple of Philae (Philae), the dam and the Unfinished Obelisk will cost about 200-300 EGP. A taxi within the city center costs 10-20 EGP. In general, Aswan is a small and compact town where you can easily move around on your own two feet.
To reach the sights of the West Bank of the Nile, you will have to pay the owner of a felucca or a motor boat, it is better to agree on the cost in advance (it is often bullied for tourists).
The Aswan Sharia as-Souq market is much more exotic than in the north of the country, and the attitude towards visitors here is not so aggressive: no one will pressure a tourist to buy another papyrus or a magnet. Special attention here should be paid to the products of the Nubians, which are very well made and much better quality than what they are generally offered to collect throughout the country (or wishing to appear so). However, all other goods will cost more than in the markets of Cairo.
Entertainment and attractions in Aswan
Directly in the city, you can see the island of Elephantine, where the oldest fragments of the temple of Khnum are located, which date back to the time of the Middle Kingdom. At the southern tip of the island are the ruins of a later temple erected by Nectanebo II.
Also in the city there is a charming Botanical Garden, the cottage and mausoleum of the Aga Khan, the ruins of the monastery of St. Simeon and the Nubian Museum, which is located somewhat on the outskirts. The museum covers an area of 50 thousand m², and includes not only exhibition halls, but also a library, educational centers, and a green park around.
But the main thing for which tourists make a stop in Aswan is the temples and complexes in the vicinity. Firstly, these are the temples of the island of Philae, which is located in the middle of the Nile and, according to legend, it was here that Osiris was buried. In antiquity, Philae was considered an “inaccessible” island: only priests could live on its sacred land. Today, tourists live here, clicking right and left with their fashionable DSLRs, throwing candy wrappers and meticulously clicking their tongues at certain beauties. And all because Philae is taken under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Secondly, everyone wants to see the famous Aswan dams, and the hydroelectric complex itself – the largest hydraulic system of structures in Egypt.