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gloriajames Aswan - A travel report by Gloria
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Aswan,  Egypt - flag Egypt -  Aswån
4136 readers

gloriajames's travel reports

Come fall in love with Aswan

  19 votes
Page: 1 2
Princess Diana, Thomas Cook, Winston Churchill, King Farouk and Agatha Christie who wrote “Death on the Nile” had all been to Aswan. Even Hermes, recently launched a brand new perfume and named it, “Jardin Su Le Nil” in tribute to the Nile River in Aswan.


Desert meeting the Nile River
Desert meeting the Nile River
To me, Aswan was the highlight of my trip.

The sight that struck me was how beautiful and serene the Nile River looked flowing through the amber desert and granite rocks, and dotted with feluccas and cruise boats, and tiny round emerald islands covered with exotic plants and animal life. Indeed it is a picturesque town where time seems to have come to a standstill.

Aswan is now home to the dark skinned Egyptians from the Nubian tribe. And why do I say that?

The construction of the High Dam caused massive overflooding in the villages and displacing many Nubians. Even the Temples of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari’s Temple (at Abu Simbel) and Temple of Philae(at Agilika Island) had to be relocated. These temples are among the most magnificent in the world, but also their removal and reconstruction are recorded as a major historical feat during the construction of the High Dam. When the monuments were threatened with submersion, and with the help of UNESCO, they were relocated exactly the way they were built.

Favourite spots:
Temple of Isis on Agilika Island
Temple of Isis on Agilika Island
1. A visit to the island of Agilika is a must. Catch a motor boat ride from the mainland to the island. As you are approaching the entrance point for disembarkation you will be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the Temple of Philae which was built around the 25th Dynasty. The temple structure was originally built on the island of Philae until it was completely submerged by the construction of the High Dam and had to be relocated to the present site. The main temple is dedicated to the Goddess Isis and once you enter the western colonnade of the temple, the passage will lead you to the hypostyle hall and the sanctuary. As you venture further, be impressed by the ruins of the Kiosk of Trajan, which is known as “Pharaoh’s Bed”, providing a picturesque shot.

2. Elephantine Island - to see what a Nilometer is and to learn how it measured the rise of the floodwaters of the Nile.

What's really great:
The imposing beautiful temple of Ramses II
The imposing beautiful temple of Ramses II
Take a 30 minutes flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel to marvel at the Temples of Ramses II and Hathor dedicated to Queen Nefetari which were both rescued by NESCO Engineers (around 1966 to 1968). The most spectacular aspect is the setting of the temples’ location on the solid rock above the banks of the Nile River between the First and Second Cataracts.
As you approach nearer, the sight that first greets the visitor is that of the four colossal statues of King Ramses, each about 20m high with his favourite children standing at his feet; and guarding the entrance to the Grand Hall of the Temple of Ramses. As you approach the door of the temple, don’t forget to take a photo with the guardian of the temple with his large Ankh key (Egyptian symbol for eternity).
The temple of Hathor has the facade of Queen Nefertari between the statues of her husband, King Ramses.
What’s particularly impressive is the sanctuary known as the Temple of Darkness which is aligned in such a way that the sun’s rays reach inside the temple, illuminating the statues ONLY TWICE in a year! (ie on 22 Feb and 22 Oct - his coronation day and birthday respectively).

Sights:
Nubian Woman selling her craftwork
Nubian Woman selling her craftwork
1. Aga Khan Mausoleum which is dedicated to the late Aga Khan.

2. Hiring a felucca to sail around the tiny island and to explore the banks.

3. Taking a motorboat ride to the Nubian Village and to drink hibiscus with the locals and to understand the culture and customs of the Nubians. Do not forget to purchase the local craftwork!

4. Exploring the beautiful gardens on Kitchener's Island which is a botanical paradise full of tropical exotic plants.

5. Visiting the colourful market / souq of Aswan which is vibrant with colour and scent of spices, perfumes, baskets, scarves and bags.

6. The only Granite Quarry in Egypt to view the largest unfinished obelisk with an estimated weight of 1200 tons.

7. High Dam Authority to view the largest artificial lake in the world - Lake Nasser.

Accommodations:
view taken from felucca ride
view taken from felucca ride
Though I spent my nights onboard Magic II cruise boat, my guide shared with me that the best place one should stay when in Aswan is the OLD CATARACT HOTEL which was built in 1889 and derived its name due to its location on the Nile’s first cataract. The hotel offers views of the spectacular sunsets while having tea on terrace.



Details
OLD CATARACT HOTEL
Sharia Abtal al-Tahrir
tel: 097-316001
fax: 097-316011

Other hotels;
NEFERTARI HOTEL (Abu Simbel)
tel: 097-400508
fax: 097-400510







Nightlife:
Nubian Man singing to pass his time.
Nubian Man singing to pass his time.
If you are seeking for a fun night out, sadly this is not the place for you. Keep yourself occupied with the activities onboard the cruise.
I did just that.

Hangouts:
Being entertained onboard Nubian Dreams, a motorboat
Being entertained onboard Nubian Dreams, a motorboat
We were entertained with Nubian folk songs which had a really catchy tune. Truly refreshing!

Restaurants:
Dinner and Music ... the Egyptian way of life!
Dinner and Music ... the Egyptian way of life!
There were special meals on each of the 4 nights onboard. I particularly liked the Oriental dishes (which means Egyptian food) and tried my first pigeon!!

Other recommendations:
Flying over Lake Nasser
Flying over Lake Nasser
I do recommend that you get a guide book, ie Egypt by Eye Witness Travel Guides, very comprehensive, and if you do get a chance, grab hold of the Art and History Book of Ancient Egypt, only available in Egypt costing US$11.

Published on Wednesday March 30th, 2005


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Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 02:00 PM rating by toribio

I LIKE A LOT

Tue, Jul 05 2005 - 11:26 PM rating by tokyomike

Hi Gloria. Fantastic report! I have been interested in the Nile since I was a boy (still am a boy at heart ;) -- when I wanted to become an archeologist. You report showed me a side that I have yet to learn about. Great photos as well. Love the guy playing music in the streets. Not sure if I'd love to eat pigeon! :) Anyway, it was a very enjoyable read. Thanks.

Sat, May 21 2005 - 01:44 AM rating by jwmarkham

Hi Gloria, Thanks for this report. Egypt has been one of my obsessions since I was in high school. I still haven't been there. I know so much about the ancient history, that I would love to see everything, expecially Abu Simbel, and now the Temple of Isis too. You got some really beautiful shots on your trip.

Tue, Apr 05 2005 - 01:46 PM rating by mistybleu

Gloria, this is very well written; it's descriptive and interesting, all around a great report.

Misty

Thu, Mar 31 2005 - 03:46 PM rating by rangutan

Perfect report with beautiful pictures!

Thu, Mar 31 2005 - 11:38 AM rating by magsalex

Another quality report. Particularly liked the pics of the Nubian man and woman.

Thu, Mar 31 2005 - 11:00 AM rating by britman

Hi GJ.

Congratulations on yet another super report. When I first read the title I thought that you had fallen for a new Egyptian lover called Aswan who you had met on the Nile ;-)

Great reading Gloria....keep up the good work....Ohhhhh nice pics too.

Brit!!

Thu, Mar 31 2005 - 05:07 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report gloria

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