About Aswan & Abu Simbel

Aswan is perfect antidone to the condition that will afflict you in Egypt: phraonic fatigue. The slow pace of the city, the quite on the streets as opposed to the urgenty of the other cities reminds you that this in fact a vacations and not a crash course in history. Having said that don’t be fooled. Aswan is a town of great historical importance. The only region in Egypt to have Granite. Aswan’s Quarries are Egypt’s main source of income.

Aswan is home to Nubian culture, which is rooted in a fair bit of turbulence in the name of development. Today Nubians are complete integrated, holding on to vanishing identity as their children grow up to be Egyptians.

1. Unfinished Obelisk: A massive 42m long shaft that would have been the largest since piece of stone ever sculpted.
2. The Aswan Dam (Rs. 160) caused much distruption in the Nile of Lower Nubia, causing villages to be submerged and forcing Nubians to move into Egypt.
3. Sail in Felucca (the most fun way to get about in Egypt) to Elephantine Island, which has a museum dedicated to Nubian Artefacts, but absolute highlight of the journey for us is stumbling upon an actual live, honestu-goodness exaction site on the island.
4. Abu Simbel Festival: Twice every year, On Febraury and October 22, thousands of people travel to Abu Simbel to participate in this festival.
a. Reasons to go: The Great temple of Ramses II, built in such an ingenious way tht only the these two days of the year will the first rays of the sun reach the innermost sanctuary of the temple and illuminate there out of the four statues: Ra-Harakhty, Ramses II and Amun. Most impressively The statue of Ptah, the god of darkness remains in Shadow.
b. Journey to Abu Simbel: You travel to Abu Simbel in a convoy of 20 Busses, passing some gorgeous landscapes. At the temple, there is a palpable excitement in the air, locals gather in traditional attire and there is much dancing, merry making and whirling derivishes dressed in psychedelic solours. Lake Naseer calmly stretches into the distance, offering quite spectacular views when dawn breaks. Lake Naseer is an artificial lake formed by the Aswan Dam.
c. Reasons not to Go: You might not be able to enjoy most of the stuff mentioned above as you may be waiting in a really long line for hours to get inside the temple to see the phenomenon. Which also you get all of two minutes to look around, seeing as you are shoved along by the security guards.

Suggestions & Quick Facts:
 Take a walk by the Nile in the evening. The road have emptied out and the walkway is lit up. There is a bench that look over the river and you can sit and watch the boats cruise by, the activity Aswan is for.
 Basma Hotel offers expansive and lovely views of Elephantine Island
 The felucca boatsmen often sing local songs to entertain the passengers
 Elephantine Island is a hot bed for excavation. History is still unearthed here.

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