Aswan is located in the foot of the Nile River in the north of Nasser Lake. Aswan city has a natural beauty where you can enjoy the most beautiful views of the Nile River in Egypt ever passing in front of the unparalleled monuments dating back to different historical times such as ancient Egyptian, the Greco-Roman, Christian, Islamic, and modern history. So it is considered as an attractive tourist destination.

Aswan city has 5 islands are Philea or Elephantine, Seheil, Agilkia, Bigeh, Kitchener’s islands.

What is the origin of Aswan word?

Aswan is derived from the ancient word (swan) which means the market because it is located in an important commercial site where the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands.

What is the history of Aswan city?

Aswan had a great position during the ancient Egyptian history. It was the starting point of the military and commercial campaigns to African countries. Additionally, Aswan has several quarries holding different kinds of rocks such as granite, sandstone, and quartzite used during the ancient Egyptian history for establishing several monuments.

Aswan city was the center for worshipping the god Khnum, but in the Greco-Roman period, Isis became the main goddess of this city.

After the establishing of Aswan High Dam, Aswan became the home for Nubians who decided to stay in that place escaping from the waters flooded their land. Nubia is famous for rescuing the Nubian monuments during the building of the High Dam by UNESCO.

Explore Egypt Tours is pleased to present this article talking about Aswan city during ancient Egyptian history. This article is the first one in a series of articles about tourist places that worth a visit in Aswan.

1- Unfinished Obelisk

Aswan city was famous for a granite quarry during the ancient Egyptian civilization. This quarry holds the unfinished obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut dating back to the 18th dynasty, New kingdom.

What are the obelisks?

Obelisks are a tall and slender monument that has four straight sides converging to a mini pyramidal shape at the top. The ancient Egyptian established obelisks referring to the Pn-pn that is the pyramidal stone referring to the primeval hill where the creation of the world.

What is the importance of Unfinished Obelisk?

This obelisk is rare evidence showing how the ancient Egyptians cut and established their obelisks. It is so difficult to carve and shape this solid stone block.

This obelisk was made from the red granite of Aswan quarry. It is 42 meters high to be the largest one in Egypt and nearly 1100 tons. This obelisk was carved from just three sides; it was abandoned and not completed because of a flaw and cracks in the rock. The scratches of the workers’ tools can still be seen clearly on the obelisk body. The researchers believe that this obelisk was carved to be placed in Karnak Temple.

How did the ancient Egyptians carve their obelisks?

The ancient Egyptians made very small holes in the rock all along the line of desired detachment. The wood was put in these holes. Then they were pouring the water on this wood to expand causing detaching the drawn obelisk.

What are other monuments carved from the red granite quarry at Aswan?

The red granite quarry at Aswan was used many times in constructing many buildings throughout the Egyptian history such as the valley temple of king Chephren, the lower part of the Mykerinos pyramid was covered with red granite in Giza Necropolis, two obelisks were carved by King Tuthmosis I to be placed in Karnak Temple during the 18th, New kingdom, and other two obelisks were carved by Queen Hatshepsut dating back to the 18th dynasty, New kingdom placed in Karnak Temple.

2 – Abu Simbel Temples

Abu Simbel temples were built on the west bank of the Nile River in the southern boundary of the Egyptian Empire with Nubia, by king Ramesses II during the 19th dynasty, New kingdom. It is considered as the largest temple carved in the rock in the world.

These temples were discovered by Swiss explorer John Lewis Burckhardt in 1813. Unfortunately, Abu Simbel Temples suffered from the rising water level in Nasser Lake during the building of the High Dam in the sixties, so UNESCO decided to rescue and move them to the current site.

What are these temples look like?

These temples are two temples:

The first temple is the Great Temple of Ramesses II. It is dedicated to Amun, Re-Harakty, Ptah, and the god Ramesses II. Its façade is decorated with four colossal statues for Ramesses II and smaller statues for his wives and daughters.
The second temple is the Small Temple of Hathor and Nefertari. It was built for Ramesses II’s beloved wife Nefertari. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor. It is smaller than Ramesses II’s temple. Its façade is decorated with six colossal statues, four present Ramesses II and the two depicting his wife Nefertari.
These two temples were decorated with several reliefs such as Kadesh Battle reliefs.

What distinguished these temples, in addition to their great size, is the occurring the perpendicular of the sun on the Holy of Holies of the Great Abu Simbel temple. For more information about this phenomenon read Abu Simbel Sun Festival article.

Enjoy day tours offered by Explore Egypt Tours to see the natural beauty of Aswan city where you can enjoy the most beautiful views of the Nile River in Egypt ever passing in front of the unparalleled monuments dating back to different historical times.