Sights in Aswan

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Aswan sights are everything from awe-inspiring to relaxing, and definitely include some of the best things to see in Egypt. Some of the best Aswan sights include the many temples and the natural beauty of the area. Here's a look at what you'll find in Aswan, so that you can make the most of your visit.

Temples

Abu Simbel is the most awe-inspiring temple in Aswan and, possibly, in all of Egypt. Sights include the four giant statues of Rameses II, erected to dissuade enemies in the south from attacking Egypt. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was almost lost forever with the creation of Lake Nasser, but the entire temple was moved in order to save it. Head inside the man-made mountain to view the inside of the temple, completely reconstructed as it was. Don't forget to visit the lesser temple next to Abu Simbel, built for the favorite wife of Rameses II, Nefertari.

Philae Temple is another famous temple in Egypt. Located in the middle of the Nile River, it is only reachable by boat. Board a falucca and head out to visit Philae, also once in danger of flooding with the rising of the waters resulting from the construction of the Aswan Dam to create Lake Nasser. It, too, was saved from loss beneath the depths: deconstructed and painstakingly rebuilt exactly as it was. Note that while half of the images of the gods have been destroyed, the other half remain intact. This is because the temple was half buried in sand, Christians took refuge within and converted it for their own use.

Nature

If you're more interested in the nature side of Aswan sights, then why not visit the Botanical Gardens. You'll once more have to step onto a falucca boat to sail to Kitchener's Island, all of which has been transformed into a botanical garden to allow visitors to see the natural flora of the Nile River area. It's a peaceful oasis that will have you forgetting that you're in the desert.

Lake Nasser is impressive, especially at sunrise. Get there early enough to enjoy the spectacular view over the water before visiting Abu Simbel, listed above. When the Aswan Dam was built and its lake was created, an entire Nubian town was lost beneath the waters. On a related note, the Aswan Dam is a great place to perhaps catch a peek of a crocodile, and you might even come across one in Lake Nasser.

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al-Hawwa's Tomb

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On the west bank of the Nile the cliffs are surmounted by the tomb of a marabout, Qubbet el-Hawwa, who was a local saint. Below are tombs of the local (pharaonic) nobles and dignitaries.

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Mohammed Shah;s Tomb

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Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957. Known as the Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity.

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Elephantine Island

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Elephantine Island is the largest island in the area. On the island you find many sightes going back to Pharaonic times and even further.

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Kitcheners Island

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Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat). It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (185--1916) and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi. But the island is known for its garden and the exotic plants Kitchener planted there, and which continue to flourish today.

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Philae Temple

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Philae Temple was also dismantled and reassembled ( on Agilika Island about 500m. from its original home on Philae island) in the wake of the High Dam. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. Its various shrines and sanctuaries, which include a temple of Hathor, a Birth House and two pylons, celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth.

At night you can visit a Sound and Light Show, "a magical experience as floodlit buildings are silhouetted against the volcanic rocks and more..

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Old Aswan Dam

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The British built their dam as well, it was enlarged, expanded, but unable to control the Nile for irrigation. That's when the Russian's helped build the new dam.

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Nubian Museum

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To get a taste of the southern egyptian civilization visit the Nubian Museum. It has many artefacts that give you some insight in life in ancient times here.

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St. Simeon Monastery

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The Coptic Monastery of St Simeon, which was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local saint.

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