Located at the first cataract of the Nile, 600 miles (almost 1000 km) south of Cairo, Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt and was the frontier of the ancient city.
Thanks to its location in southern Egypt at the First Cataract of the Nile, the city of Aswan has been strategically important throughout the country’s legendary history. Home to the ancient Egyptian frontier, the stone quarries from which the world-famous pyramids were furnished, and markets through which gold, wood and spices were traded, it is undoubtedly a city with many stories to tell.
What to see in Aswan?
As well as having a fascinating history, Aswan remains to this day a busy commercial and tourism center. One of the reasons for this is its famous Dams, which have had a significant effect on Egypt’s economic and cultural development, and which are often included on tours of the city’s sights.
Aswan is also the location of the ancient stone quarries from which the pyramids, statues and other monuments were created, and one of the highlights of any trip to the city is visiting the Unfinished Obelisk, still partly attached to the rock from which it was being carved 3500 years ago. Nearby, the Fatimid Cemetery is home to the ruins of a number of 9th century domed tombs made from mud bricks.
For those lucky enough to have a fair bit of time to spend in Aswan, the city is also home to a number of museums, including one dedicated to an alternative side of Egypt: the culture and history of the Nubian people. If this piques your interest, you should visit Gharb Soheil, better known as the Nubian Village, located not far from Aswan, a short boat journey across the Nile.
Of course, as is the case country-wide, Aswan is home to a number of ancient temples, including Philae Temple, located on an island not far from the city center and dedicated to the goddess Isis. One of the most popular sites near Aswan, and the reason for which many people make the trip to southern Egypt, is the temple complex of Abu Simbel, twin rock temples carved out of the mountains in the 13th century.