Day Trips from Aswan
By Viator, October 2013
Abu Simbel and around Aswan
Day trips to the area often include Aswan Dam, Lake Nasser and the Temple of Philae on Isis Island, the cult center of Isis worship and one of the last places in Egypt to practice the ancient religion. The real highlight of the region, however, is the Temple of Abu Simbel.
Overlooking Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel was built to impress, with the immense statues in front of the Great Temple intended to frighten potential enemies coming down the Nile from Africa. Originally built into a mountainside by Ramses II (the sun lights the sun temple’s sanctuary on his birthday), the original Abu Simbel was carefully sawed into numbered stone cubes in the 1960s and reassembled uphill to escape the rising waters of Lake Nasser, which rose to inundate the previous site following the construction of the Aswan Dam.
Home to many of the biggest and most famous monuments of ancient Egypt, Luxor is widely considered the country’s capital of cultural tourism. Built around the 4000-year-old site of Thebes, ancient capital of the New Kingdom, the concentration of monuments in Luxor is truly astounding. Known as the world's largest open-air museum, there are so many temples and monuments worth visiting you may even risk being ‘templed out’. Highlights include The Valley of the Kings, where the ancient pharaohs were buried along with their riches (it was here that Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in the 1920s); The Valley of the Queens, where the queens and their children were interred; Luxor Temple, built by the New Kingdom Pharaoh Amenophis III; the enormous Temple Complex of Karnak, the most important place of worship in ancient Egypt; the giant Colossi of Memnon; and the Mummification Museum.
Dendara and Abydos temples
Located south of Aswan, Dendara is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a thick mud-brick wall. The earliest extant building in the complex today is the Mammisi, built by Nectanebo II (360–343 BC), though the site itself allegedly dates back to 2250 BC. Besides the temple of Hathor, famous for its astronomical ceiling depicting heavenly bodies and signs of the zodiac, you’ll find within the complex the Temple of the Birth of Isis, the Sanatorium, the Christian Basilica, a Bark shine and the Gateways of Domitian and Trajan.
Along the Nile north of Dendara lies Abydos, the center of the cult of Osiris and one of the world’s most ancient pilgrimage sites. Here you’ll find a collection of monuments, ancient cemeteries and temples, including the Temple of Seti, a magnificent work built during the New Kingdom. Within, the raised reliefs are considered some of the finest in the country.
Kom Ombo and Edfu
The Temple of Kom Ombo was built in honor of the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world, and Haroeris, more familiar as the ancient falcon-headed Horus. The temple, unusual because of its double entrance, dates to the reign of Ptolemy VI. Earlier Pharaonic remains have been detected at the site, but little now remains of these.
A short drive away from Kom Ombo is Edfu, a majestic temple dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus. The temple is built on the site where Horus is said to have revenged the murder of his father Osiris by killing Seth. Edfu is considered by most to be the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt.
Tours & Tickets
Take a private tour to explore three of Aswan most popular and well known sites. Walk on the High Dam which separates Lake Nasser from the Nile, be astounded ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
A visit to Philae Temple at night to attend the Sound and Light Show is a magical experience. The floodlit buildings are silhouetted against the volcanic ... Read more
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
Fast track your journey and take the quick route to see the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel on an air tour from Aswan. With a qualified Egyptologist as your ... Read more
Duration: 4 - 5 hours