Aswan was once a jewel of Ancient Egypt for a single precious resource: granite. This granite adorned temples, houses, places and dams throughout the Empire. It also served as Ancient Egypt’s gatway to Africa (a gateway marked by the Abu simbel Temples). Today, its almost as famous, but for its rich historical heritage. A lot of the archeological remains here have been relocated thanks to the construction of the Aswan Dam.
The population of the place is largely Nubian, and the lifestyle here reflects that. Interacting with the locals is highly recommended as it creates a more authentic experience. Besides, they are all friendly people.
On the east bank, you have the Nubian Museum, Unfinished Obelisk, Fatimid Cemetery and the Ferial Garden, as well as the Corniche Road. On the West Bank you have the Tomb of the Nobles, the Kalabsha Temple and the Monastary of St. Simeon. On the islands on the middle you have the Isis Philae Temple, the Aswan Botanical Garden, the Aswan Museum and the Ruins of Abu. The river is usually navigated by boat, ferry or felucca (tourists are charged exorbitantly).
Aswan Travel Tips
Essential travel information and Aswan tips for your visit
- Take the camel ride to the Monastery of Saint Simeon.
- Have tea/lunch with the locals.
- Cruise on a felucca. Bargain hard.
- Buy Nubian handicrafts. Compare products and bargain hard.
- Be quick with your thank you.
- Carry Egyptian money.
- Take a trip to Aswan Dam if you like, but it’s a let down.
- Make sure your guide comes highly recommended from various sources.
- Take an Animalia tour of Aswan.
- Take a trip to Abu simbel.
- Don’t deface the archeological heritage.
- Don’t wander out into the desert without water.
- Don’t be careless with your things. Beware of pickpockets.
- Don’t be publicly affectionate.
- Don’t dress revealingly or ostentatiously.