Introduction to Aswan

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Aswan is one of the most important destinations in Egypt and one of the preferred ones in winter. It is a city with its magic and style.

Its location gives it beautiful views of the Nile River and its historical monuments.

Among the tourist attractions to visit, are: the Unfinished Obelisk, the Temple of Philae, the Great Dam and usually visited during the cruise, which runs along the Nile River from Luxor to Aswan or vice versa.

Geographical Location

The city of Aswan is the capital of the province of the same name. It is the southernmost city in the country and is located on the eastern bank, almost at the end of the Nile Valley in Egypt.

Aswan is surrounded by Qena Province in the north, the Red Sea Province in the east, the Sudanese Egyptian border in the south and the New Valley Province in the west, and is 900 km south of Cairo, 513 km south of Hurghada, 230 km south of Luxor and 1105 km southwest of Sharm El Sheikh.

Aswan is located 85 meters above sea level and has an area of 35,000 km2.

Origin of the name

The city of Aswan was called "Sono" in the language of ancient Egypt, a word that means "great market", as the city functioned as a transit point for commercial caravans from Nubia and the rest of Africa to Egypt for a long period.

The word "Sono" became "Sein" in the Ptolemaic period and later changed to "Suan" in the Coptic language. When the Arabs conquered Egypt in the 7th century AD, they added an "a" to the beginning of the name, thus leaving "Aswan". The city has also been called the "city of the shining sun and the land of gold".


The importance of Aswan comes from the Ancient Kingdom, around the 30th century BC, as this city was the southern entrance to the kingdom.

During the Middle Kingdom, Aswan became a meeting point and stronghold of the Egyptian army, as the kings of these dynasties wanted to extend their rule southwards, i.e. to Nubia and Sudan.

Aswan also played an important role during the battles between the ancient Egyptians and the Hyksos.

Another important characteristic of the city was its granite quarries, which were appreciated for the construction of different temples and monuments throughout Egyptian history.

During the reign of the Ptolemies, the Island of Philae became the center of worship for the goddess Isis, who was also an important deity outside of Egypt.

Later, when Christianity was declared the official religion in the 5th century AD, many Pharaonic temples in Aswan were transformed into churches, as was the case in Luxor, such as the beautiful Temple of Hatshepsut, which was renamed Deir El Bahary or "Monastery of the North".

The Island of Philae became one of the most important dioceses in the expansion of Christianity in Nubia and Sudan.

During Egypt's Islamic period, which began in the 7th century AD, when the Muslim Arabs invaded the country, Aswan flourished as a crossing point for caravans going to Aydhab, a major port on the West Coast of the Red Sea at that time. These caravans continued to Hejaz, Yemen, and then India. Also, various Islamic schools were established in Aswan during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Aswan also played a significant role in the contemporary history of Egypt. It was there that Mohamed Ali, the founder of modern Egypt established the first military academy in the country. Later, Aswan witnessed another of the country's most important achievements: the creation of the Great Dam, built in the 1960s, whose construction helped to increase the production of electricity and storage of water from the annual flooding of the Nile River, to be used for agriculture and other needs of the population.


Being the southernmost point of Egypt, near the border with Sudan, Aswan enjoys a wonderful climate in autumn, winter, and spring. However, in summer temperatures can reach 50°C and it is not recommended to visit the city at this time.


Aswan began receiving tourists in the 20th century. Nowadays, it is one of the most visited cities by travelers from all over the world, who come to enjoy its warm climate in winter and explore its most outstanding sites.

The city also has the opportunity to receive large numbers of tourists because of the growing popularity of Nile cruises that sail between the cities of Luxor and Aswan, and Abu Simbel and Aswan.

The most important sites in Aswan are undoubtedly the Unfinished Obelisk, the Temple of Philae, and the Great Dam. There are also other interesting sites to explore such as the Mausoleum of Aga Khan, the Shah of Iran who fell in love with the city to such an extent that his last wish was to be buried there. His mausoleum was built in 1957 in the Fatimid architectural style and was transformed.

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