Not as big as Cairo or Luxor but certainly more relaxed, Aswan is an historic Egyptian city located along the Nile. Palm-fringed islands dot the shores between the city and the West Bank while white-sailed feluccas peacefully cruise the crystal waters. The city bustles with vendors selling their handicrafts and homemade food at street booths and market stalls. Many visitors stop in Aswan as they sail down the Nile, in particular to see the Unfinished Obelisk, just south of the city. Supposedly sanctioned by the pharaoh known as Hatshepsut, the obelisk is the largest of its kind as it is nearly one third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. Had it been completed, the obelisk would have stood about 136 feet, but was abandoned when cracks began to appear in the granite during construction.
Another classic site near Aswan is the Philae Temple, which was constructed to honor the deceased goddess, Isis. She was an important figure in the ancient Egyptian known as a giver of life, a healer, and a protector of kings. The Philae Temple is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Egypt. It was almost destroyed by a flood, but rescued and relocated by UNESCO archaeologists over the course of 10 years. Aswan also serves as a base location for visitors to visit the Abu Simbel rock temples located three hours away in Upper Egypt. After peaceful and exciting days reveling in Pharaonic and Egyptian history, feast on the local food and wander the relaxed city streets.
Floating along the Nile in a traditional felucca might be all you need to complete your trip to Egypt’s hottest city, but Aswan also has intriguing markets, delicious cuisine and historical attractions to round out your visit.
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