Aswan is a beautiful city located in Upper Egypt.  It was once the gate to Africa and an important ancient trade center.  Aswan today offers beautiful natural scenery in addition to numerous sites of interest.




  Philae Temple

On a small island in the Nile near Aswan stands the amazing Temple of Isis at Philae. This monument is possibly best known for the international effort which moved it in it's entirety to the island when it's original location was threatened by the change in water level caused by the High Dam.  The UNESCO rescue operations started in the 1960’s. The temple has been completely dismantled and rebuilt to the original orientation on the nearby island of Agilika which rises higher from the water and has been reshaped and landscaped to resemble the original Philae.
There are many legends connected to Philae, but the most well known one tells the story of how Isis found the heart of Osiris here after his murder by his brother Seth.
On the right side of the temple precinct stands Trajan's kiosk. This beautiful building was where the sacred barge with the statue of Isis landed during its annual precession down the river. The kiosk, rebuilt by the Roman emperor Trajan, consists of 14 columns with screen walls which are decorated with scenes of Trajan making offerings to Isis, Osiris and Horus.

Like most of the major monuments in Egypt which are assessable to the mass tourist market Philae has an impressive 'Sound and Light' show. As darkness descends the Pylons and buildings on the island are picked out by spotlights of various colors producing a breathtaking effect recounting the legends against the magnificent backdrop of the floodlit monuments - a truly magical experience.

  Kalabsha Temple


The Kalabsha Temple was moved in 1970 to its present location in Nubia. It was the largest freestanding temple in Egyptian Nubia and the temple is typical of the classical Ptolemaic period with pylons, courtyard, hypostyle hall and three-room sanctuary.   The courtyard inside the pylon once had columns on three sides.

There is also a small chapel, which can be reached from stairs in the first chamber, which then descend from the roof into the chapel set inside the wall.As you leave the temple, be sure to note the rear wall with images of Mandulis with his vulture-feathered cloak

  Aswan High Dam


The world famous Aswan High Dam was an engineering miracle built in the 1960's.  The dam is 11,811 feet long, 3,215 feet wide and 364 feet high.
It provides irrigation and electricity for the entire country of Egypt along with the old Aswan Dam. The High Dam created a 30% increase in the agricultural land in Egypt.  The electricity producing capability of the dam doubled Egypt's available supply. 

The High Dam added a whole new aspect to Egypt and a new environment as well. The lake is some 500 miles in length and at the time it was created.  It is probably the world's largest artificial lake.

Granite Quarries & the Unfisnished Obelisk


The Granite Quarries provided much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi.  Located in the Northern Quarry, the Unfinished Obelisk (42 m in length) lies in the same place it was discarded thousands of years ago, when a crack was discovered as it was being carved.

Most of the granite used in the ancient Egyptian tombs, temples and obelisks came from the quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. Of particular interest is the Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry.  Because it has a large crack it was never used.  However, if it had been finished it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the largest piece of stone ever handled.

  The Agha Khan Mausoleum


This pink granite mausoleum in Aswan was built in 1950 for the spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shiite. The Aga Khan was educated in Europe and succeeded his father in 1885 to become the 48th imam. His son succeeded him upon his death in 1957, and then by his grandson, Karim, Aga Khan IV. Members of this sect consider themselves to be the direct spiritual descendants of the Fatimids

  Sound and Light Shows in Aswan


The Sound and Light Show of the Temple of Philae was inaugurated in 1985. Spectators are taken on a Nile cruise and listen to how the temple was rescued and restored. The show describes the history of Aswan, the grandeur of Nubia and the sacredness of the Nile. The show is presented in English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Italian

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