Aswan was a busy market town 3,000 years ago, and an important border point. It is located on the east of River Nile and used to overlook the first rapids of the river beyond which no ship could travel, and was the end of civilisation as the people knew it.
Aswan Tourist Attractions
An Aswan Stone Quarry
Its vast resources of natural stone and marble were its largest commercial asset. After quarrying them, masons rafted huge blocks weighing many tons down waterways all over Egypt, and used them for building the ancient monuments that we see today.
A Temple to the Sky God
consists of over 40,000 stone blocks, and dates back to the 4th Century BC. A Byzantine emperor closed it in the 7th Century during a religious purge. In 1902, the British built the Aswan Dam causing it to flood in season. After independence, the Egyptians raised the wall several times and it almost vanished. In the 1960’s they relocated it to the island where it stands. This is a must-visit shrine if you want to glimpse the glory of ancient Egypt, and the adoration of the people for their sky god Horus.
Some Unfinished Business
The third site is an unfinished obelisk a pharaoh ordered millennia ago, that would have weighed 1,200 tons if separated from the rock and been 42 meters high. This was the biggest project the Ancient Egyptians ever attempted, but it cracked as they gradually released it. When you walk on it you can see the marks of chisels, and the ochre-coloured lines a foreman painted 3,500 years ago to guide the stonemasons in their work.
To see more of Aswan and the nearby towns’ attractions, stay longer and book your accommodation there.