There was so much to learn about ancient and present Egypt in Aswan, and luckily I spent the time here with the greatest people.
I came here by train from Luxor with Luisa, an Italian friend I made at the backpackers there. I stayed in Aswan with couch surfer David who introduced me Emad, one of the kindest Egyptians I’ve met. He showed me and Luisa around Aswan.
Aswan is a typical Egyptian city, standing by the Nile, with gorgeous views and you can find temples around. On ancient Egypt this was the frontier city on the south and has always been a hub for markets and trading. Bargaining is an important cultural activity in Arabic countries. It’s curious to see people buying products from street vendors from the windows of their apartment and getting the goods up with a bucket hanging from a rope.
Emad showed us the city, the mosque, the church, the Nubian village on the other side of the Nile and the Unfinished Obelisk that, if erected, would have been the largest in the world being 42 meters tall.
In this area the Nile has many islands and it’s a pleasure to visit them, travel on boat to the other side of the Nile, watch the city from the west bank and swim in the river. There is a hill with Tombs of the Nobles that is illuminated by night and can be seen from the city.
There is a Nubian village on the other side of the Nile where you can find traditional clothes, handcrafts and spices. There are some colorful houses, although that’s not traditional, it’s just made so to attract the tourism which after all is one of the mayor industries in Egypt.
A few kilometers south is the High Dam, which is just a dam, but an amazing piece of infrastructure that is 3800 meters long, 980 meters wide at the base and 111 meters high.
You can get great views from the dam north and south. Nearby there is an Egypt-Soviet monument called the Lotus Tower that was built to celebrate the friendship between this nations as the Soviets helped build the dam back in the 60’s.
In one of the islands south from Aswan there is the Philae Temple, almost hidden between the vegetation and other islands. Built to honor the ancient god Isis, this temple is very young, only 2700 years old making it the last ancient temple built in the classical ancient Egyptian architectural style. Due to flooding, UNESCO relocated the temple from Philae to Agilkia Island. Like many other temples, it was reused by Christians and Muslims as a church and mosque.
Aswan was a great adventure. I also did a day tour to another temple a few hundred kilometers south, close to the border, that I will tell you about on the next post. Then I came back to Aswan and then to Cairo.