Aswan (Assuan) is Egypt’s most southerly city, once regarded as the border with Nubia, and the source for all of the granite used in the ancient pyramids, temples, and obelisks.
Because of its location Aswan became an important garrison town during the Pharaonic age, when it was known as Swenett, monitoring traffic going up and down the River Nile. This is especially true for Elephantine Island, the largest island in the River Nile, at Aswan, and home of numerous ancient sites, including the foundations of a pyramid. The island also houses an ancient Nilometer, used to measure the depth of the river when it used to flood once a year (known as the “inundation”), bringing the rich, alluvial soils that gave Egypt its abundant harvests.
Behind Elephantine Island lies Kitchener’s Island, named after the British General who made his garrison here during the war with Sudan. It is now home for the botanical gardens, which consist of many exotic plants that were originally brought there by the British, as well as many plants brought from over the world since then.
Sites to see:
Aga Khan Mausoleum (from the outside only)
Aswan High Dam
Aswan Low Dam
Aswan Museum (on Elephantine Island)
St. Simeon’s Monastery
The Botanical Gardens on Kitchener’s Island
The Nubian Museum
The Temple of Derr
The Temple of Edfu
The Temple of Esna
The Temple of Kalabsha
The Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temples of Philae on Agilkia Island
The Tombs of the Nobles
The Unfinished Obelisk