Ancient treasures, Nubian culture and the mighty Nile await you in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan.
Day 1: Central Aswan
Aswan has been a trading city for millennia, so a visit to the excellent souk is a fitting start. Then head for the Nubia Museum, a compelling site which records Nubian art and culture which would otherwise have been lost under Lake Nasser when the High Dam was constructed. The modern structure is intended to evoke a Nubian village, set in a handsome landscaped garden. Afterward take a walk in nearby Fatimid Cemetery where domed tombs form an eerie, atmospheric village. Finally, see the crack in the enormous Unfinished Obelisk (which is exactly why it remained unfinished).
Day 2: Elephantine Island and Western Shoreline
Elephantine Island, a fascinating ancient site which once formed the
boundary between Egypt and Nubia, to see the villages of Siou and Koti.
On the island’s southern tip, visit the ruins of Abu, among Egypt’s
oldest antiquities. Then see how the life-giving waters of the Nile have
worked their magic in Aswan’s Botanic Gardens, a lovingly landscaped
oasis whose towering palms attract a wealth of birdlife. On the western
shore, do a circuit of the Aga Khan Mausoleum, an imposing stone
structure which belies its recent age. If time allows and you still want
to explore Dynastic Egypt, the Tombs of the Nobles abound in wall
paintings and hieroglyphs. Finally, visit the ruins of the 7th century
St. Simeon’s Monastery, where graceful arches cast lengthening shadows in
the late afternoon sun.
Day 3: Dam and Lake
villages of Soheil Island are a handy stopover on your way to the
engineering marvel of the High Dam. On Lake Nasser, you’ll see the
dramatic, jagged shoreline formed by this artificially created body of
water. See ancient structures which were moved from lower ground during
the dam's construction, including the Roman Kalabsha Temple with its
traces of later Christian use. Philae Temple is even older; you might
want to come back in the evening to see the sound and light show.