Our last day on board our Nile River cruise included a full itinerary in Aswan. If you’re planning a visit to this fantastic southern Egyptian city, here’s a few ideas on what to see and do:
1. Walk on the unfinished obelisk.
Many of Egypt’s ancient monuments were built from granite quarried in Aswan. At this quarry, you can see the obelisk which was ordered by Hatshepsut, but abandoned when cracks started appearing in the granite. The bottom side is still attached to the bedrock. If completed, it would have been the largest obelisk in the world.
2. Marvel at Philae Temple.
This island temple complex was built in the Ptolemaic dynasty, but faced near destruction due to flooding after the low dam was built in 1902. In the 1960’s a UNESCO rescue project was commissioned and the temple complex was completely deconstructed and moved to its present location on Agilkia Island.
3. Visit the high dam.
Completed in 1970, the dam has greatly benefited the economy of Egypt as it allows control over floods and droughts to protect their farmland. It brought electricity to many rural villages, and is the reason many ancient monuments were relocated, including the great temple of Abu Simbel.
4. Get oiled up.
Aswan is famous for essential oils. Visit an oil factory and get prescribed a solution for whatever ails you (after walking around all these ancient monuments, I would recommend the Sandalwood for knee pain)!
5. Visit the Nubian Village.
Our visit with Memphis Tours took us into the home of a local family for tea and shisha… and to see their pet crocodiles.
6. Ride a felucca.
A peaceful ride on the beautiful Nile river is a great way to watch the sun set.
7. Have a drink at the Old Cataract Hotel.
Dozens of celebrities have stayed here over the years, including Agatha Christie as she wrote Death on the Nile. We were lucky to get a tour of the hotel and got to see Winston Churchill’s suite, which goes for $5,000 a night. At least a drink on the terrace was in our budget!
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